By Joshua Herring

The award-winning PBS documentary series, “Art21”, or “Art in the Twenty-First Century,” was pre-screened at KU throughout October. Dr. Daniel Haxall, associate professor of art history, scheduled four exclusive episodes from the new season at the Sharadin Arts building.

Haxall says the episode screenings were well received and drew in more than 150 people.

“We often had post-film discussions. In this way, ‘Art21’ served as a basis for dialogue about art and contemporary times,” said Haxall.

The first four episodes of season seven are entitled “Investigation,” Secrets,” “Legacy” and “Fiction.” KU student Lindsey Borgman attended the advanced screenings of the first two episodes. She said that the episodes manage to showcase modern artists while discussing the motivations behind their work and what it personally means to them. Borgman favored photographer Graciela Iturbide in “Investigation,” who incorporates social issues into her artwork.

Season seven offers exclusive views into the modern creative engagement of 12 different artists around the world. From photography to experimental sculpture, the latest “Art21” productions go beyond just showcasing contemporary artwork. According to Haxall, they address the pertinent political, social and philosophical issues behind creating art.

For its third year, KU participated in the “Art21” free screening initiative created to teach contemporary art, spark dialogue and inspire creative thinking through public screenings and events.

“We continue to host advanced screenings of “Art21” because the films are excellent, they are timely in the artists they profile and global issues they discuss,” said Haxall.

According to Susan Sollins, executive producer of “Art21,” the mission for unveiling the season’s first four episodes is to “encourage organizations to utilize ‘Art21’ materials in their communities and spark new, innovative conversations about the important work of the artists profiled.”

Haxall unwaveringly followed these encouragements.

“I use ‘Art21’ extensively in my classes,” said Haxall. “They grant students access to artists’ studios, processes and thoughts.”

Season seven debuted on PBS Friday, Oct. 24. Check the local listings or contact a local PBS station for future air times. For further details about season seven or “Art21” in general, visit


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