Segment Title: Program 1: Converging Cultures
Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Mexico es California. Argelia es Paris.
Barbara Mundy: I often think of artists as a creative, imaginary force in society that offers us new ways of seeing things.
Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Cambodia es San Francisco.
Jay Levenson: It’s clear there are certain very interesting convergences of culture that lead to the creation of hybrid works of art that under other circumstances never would have been produced.
Alan Chong: These forms of hybrid art actually create something new and powerful that belongs to two cultures, and sometimes taps in even to a greater cultural ambience
Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Your house is also mine.
Barbara Mundy: I see artists as being agents of change, agents of absorption in these situations of cultural contact.
Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Your language mine as well
Alan Chong: Now whether that’s called export porcelain or fused style,
Melissa Chiu: We have a new sensibility of global cultures, of interconnections between cultures. But I think that we must also remember that there were many different moments where the ancient world or traditional world was inter-connected.
Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Thank you.
Segment Title: Program 2: Dreams and Visions
Yukio Lippit: Art that’s emanated from dreams is understood to somehow document or partake of an extraordinarily sensitized moment of perception. And if it can somehow convey that to the viewer, then the viewer, in viewing dream art, is taken out of their ordinary perceiving lives and transported to a different realm of cognition.
Edward Sullivan: That sense of introspection, that sense of connectedness, perhaps connectedness beyond the mundane realities of this universe, to something higher. What that higher thing is, it is only defined by each individual artist.
Natasha Staller: The idea of painting a dream or nightmare becomes part of a voyage of self-discovery.
Edward Sullivan: The greatness of these artists, I think, lies in their ability to actually project onto a surface, the form of introspective communication with something beyond our immediate understanding.
Patrick Hunt: There’s an alchemy about depicting art, in which what art may often do best, is expressing the internal.
Segment Title: Program 3: History and Memory
Lisa Saltzman: If one thinks about the relationship between art and history and memory, when we depict things, when we depict human figures, events, in some sense, we are creating the visual as a site of memory.
John Hanhardt: From that bison on a cave to the great history of Renaissance painting, photography, the cinema—art is about shaping memories of the history and the past.
Lisa Saltzman: From its very origins, art has always been about an act of remembrance.
Segment Title: Program 4: Ceremony and Society
Patrick Hunt: Ceremony is almost always invested with dignity, where we think we can slow down time, and mark a moment as more important than another.
Nasser Rabbat: A ceremonial is always a spectacle and it’s meant to be as such. And in this context, art is actually serving as the the support of that spectacle.
When you go to a museum you are looking at objects that are totally detached from their context.
You look at them as art and you start seeing their formal quality, their artistic qualities,
Polly Roberts: They are products of aesthetic genius, but many of the objects were not necessarily made as art, originally.
Nasser Rabbat: These objects were not produced to be put on a pedestal, or to be put in a glass box.
Polly Roberts: In point of fact, most of these objects were made for a purpose.
Segment Title: Program 5: Cosmology and Belief
Anne D’Alleva: Where do we come from? What are we? And where are we going?
Fred Myers: One of the fundamental problems that culture faces is the articulation of the place of the human self in the world, in the broader world, in the cosmos.
We are beings who live through a symbolic order. Therefore, we’re faced with the possibility of somehow formulating in terms graspable, intelligible, experience-able our place in that world.
And culture, while it does many things, including organizing us to make our way from here to the gas station, provides us general models for understanding our relationship to the ultimate conditions of existence.
Segment Title: Program 6: Death
Person #1: I will die.
Person #2: I will die.
Person #3: I will die.
Person #4: I will die.
Angelo Filomeno: Well, first of all, let’s talk about death.
Yui Suzuki: Death is an inevitable experience that everybody has to go through—there’s no way to escape that.
Ilan Stavans: Death occurs to all of us, it is commonplace in the human experience. And yet we experience it according to the lens, to the kaleidoscope that our own culture provides us.
Stanley Brandes: Death is one of the most traumatic occurrences that we can experience and I think it’s for this reason that it’s a fount of so much creativity.
Segment Title: Program 7: Domestic Life
Alexandra Griffith Winton: The home is one of the most intimate and most personal spaces that people look at for information about themselves and one another.
Soyoung Lee: Behind our front doors are objects that define us, that give us meaning.
Faith Ringgold: Every culture creates things that are useful in their lives, whether they are in a cold climate, in a hot climate, or, you know, the place that they live in, and they do the best they can to live there. And out of that comes different forms of art. Great art comes out of the way they live and what they make to live in that way.
Segment Title: Program 8: Writing
Sylvia Wolf: The idea of what constitutes meaning I think is crucial in this discussion of art and the written word. If we look back at hieroglyphs or if we look back at illuminated and illustrated manuscripts, they are utilizing language and words, but to provide information. And yet, that a scribe could beautifully and artfully lend some skills with painting is something that we find so satisfying today.
Segment Title: Program 9: Portraits
Susan Sidlauskas: The face is the first thing we’re drawn to. A baby looks at a face. An animal looks at your face.
David Lubin: Before we learn to talk or walk we learn reading the signals in a person’s face.
Kehinde Wiley: Because we’re selfish, we want to see elements of ourselves in everything.
Anne Mcclanan: You can see how it’s almost fundamental for survival. You have this need to recognize, to make distinctions, to read emotions. It’s absolutely crucial.
Susan Sidlauskas: Given the fact that faces are so critical to us it’s natural that portraiture as a genre would have been one of the ascendant art forms for thousands of years.
Segment Title: Program 10: The Natural World
Romita Ray: Nature is full of hidden surprises and secrets.
John Beardsley: There’s a kind of mystery and ambiguity to it. It’s dynamic.
Peter Roe: Animals are born just like we are, age just like we do, and die just like we do. Plants, the same. Rivers meander and move. They flood, they drain. Mountains move, they erupt, they erode.
John Beardsley: You can go to the same place at different times of day, different seasons, and it will be different.
Robert Harris: Art somehow makes sense of this environment. It is a way of understanding the natural world.
Segment Title: Program 11: The Urban Experience
David Brown: A city could be thought of as the largest piece of collectively made vernacular art that exists that contains embedded within it artist-designed architecture and public planning.
Anna Indych-Lopez: In cities, you have this concentration not only of life, but intellectual life that often can stir creativity.
Jon Ritter: Urban planning, urban design seek to provide an experience of space, of social interaction in the cityscape, so in that way I think they are similar to painting and sculpture, which aspire to create an emotional, physical, and intellectual response to ideas made public.
Anna Indych-Lopez: Cities function very much as cradles of aesthetic innovation.
Segment Title: Program 12: Conflict and Resistance
Gwendolyn Shaw: So much of visual art production arises out of moments of military and political conflict. You have huge bodies of painting and public sculpture and popular press images, broadsides that were posted on walls. So much of the importance during those political moments was translated into visual imagery. Because the images themselves can often be more persuasive, especially if they’re supposedly created around some kind of true moment, if they’re supposed to be eyewitness scenes, they can convey much more than words alone.
The importance of the visual, the power of the visual, the power of it to change the ways that people think is a way to express dissent.
Segment Title: Program 13: The Human Body
Roselee Goldberg: The body is the starting point for just about every kind of art format. You start with the body, you start with this physical being, what we know. It’s absolutely the beginning.
Zainab Bahrani: From the first moments in which human beings began to think about representing the world around them, the human form became something of interest.
Pepe Karmel: As some people have suggested art may have actually started with the body, not in terms of people making pictures of bodies, but of decorating the body, and then moved outwards from there.
Andrew Bolton: The body is constantly in vogue and it’s constantly in vogue in art.
Anne D’Alleva: And that’s because in many ways art is about the human experience, and it’s about the experience of being here. And what better way to express that, or to begin to express that, or to think about that or to shape that, than by representing the body.