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Art:21,’ means more than just color on page

Columbus students, teachers and local artists had the chance to see “Transformation,” an episode in the fifth season of the “Art:21” series, before it airs on PBS Oct. 21. The preview party started at 3:30 p.m. last Saturday at the Ohio State University Urban Arts Space.

According to its official Web site, Art21 is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase knowledge of contemporary art, ignite discussion and inspire creative thinking by documenting artists at work and in their own words. The “Art:21” series has been developed to provoke critical thinking, share ideas and solve problems.

Brooke Hunter-Lombardi, the monitor of the event, was a big “Art:21” enthusiast. She said the artists in this episode, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Cindy Sherman and Paul McCarthy could inhabit the characters they create and capture the sensibility of our age.

People gathered together to watch “Transformation” and then discussed it with local artists and professors from Columbus College of Arts and Design. During the showing, they concentrated on the big screen, and they talked about transformation in art and life.

In this episode, Yinka Shonibare MBE explained ideas behind his art, “Black and White Swan.”

“Things are not always what people see,” he said. He also talked about the process of creation and the exhaustion he encountered when creating art.

Cindy Sherman shared “A Cindy Book” with audiences, which she began when she was 7 years old. She said that it is interesting to see yourself as who you are right now; the evolution of you. She also said that she would like to create something anybody could understand.

Paul McCarthy did not try to satisfy all the audiences. He said that making art and making entertainment are totally different things. He said making art is about the exploration of ideas.

Following the screening, a panel discussion was moderated by Elina Khachaturyan, a third-year in fine art and photography at CCAD; Tim Rietenbach, professor and director of student exhibition at CCAD; Jennifer Evans Kinsley, local book artist; Catharina Manchanda, senior curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts; and Brooke
Hunter-Lombardi.

Every episode of “Art:21” poses a question, and “Transformation” is no exception. It deals with art changing and adapting over time.

The panelists shared their opinions with the audience. Hunter-Lombardi also asked the artists a few questions, and all audience members were welcomed to ask questions and discuss them with artists. “The thing I enjoy the most about Art:21 is that it makes me think,” Hunter-Lombardi said. “I was pleased. I was very glad [about] the engagement level of audiences. Students, teachers were getting together. It was community enthusiasm.

“I would definitely do that again,” she said. “Maybe not in near future. But it is an important chance for people to expose and talk about art.”

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