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Reviews of New Films, Videos, and CD-ROMs
A World of Art: Works in Progress
10-part series, 30 min. each color video 1997 U.S. English
Executive Producers: Henry M. Sayre, John Lindsay
Distributor: The Annenberg/CPB Multimedia Collection, P.O. Box 2345, S. Burlington, VT 05407-2345. Tel 1-800-LEARNER; Fax 1-802-864-9846. E-mail: info@learner.org

This ten-part series offers a straightforward, accessible look at a range of contemporary artists from high-tech video artist Bill Viola to Mierle Ukeles, artist-in-residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation. Focusing on a single artist, each half-hour segment gives an overview of the artist's work, and traces a work in progress--in Viola's case, for instance, a video installation piece for the 1995 Venice Biennale.

In each program the artist speaks for her- or himself--there are no narrators, and few on-camera experts to place the artist in the larger context of contemporary art. This can be a weakness and a strength. It offers a refreshingly direct encounter with the artist, but can also leave viewers without a sense of the larger contemporary art scene, and what role a particular artist might play in it. A World of Art was originally conceived as a tele-course; perhaps that larger context is expected to come from the course instructor.

Covering artists of different cultural backgrounds, ages and gender, the series includes programs on photographer Lorna Simpson; performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña; painter Hung Liu; photographer/painter/sculptor Beverly Buchanan; printmaker June Wayne; painter Milton Resnick; muralist Judy Baca; and the performance troupe Goat Island, along with Viola and Ukeles. The videos are available as a series or individually, and a study guide, full textbook and CD-ROM are also available.

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