Creative Growth featured in Art21 on PBS

Creative Growth is thrilled to  be included in Art21's ninth season of "Art in the Twenty-First Century" on PBS. The first nonprofit art center to be featured in Art21, Creative Growth is one of four representatives in the "San Francisco Bay Area" episode alongside fellow Bay Area artists Katy Grannan, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and Stephanie Syjuco. View the full episode at

From Art21:

Season 9 (2018) of the Peabody Award-winning Art in the Twenty-First Century television series [...] is presented in three parts and reveals the stories of twelve innovators in visual art—and, in a series first, a nonprofit art center—including: Creative Growth Art Center, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Olafur Eliasson, David Goldblatt, Katy Grannan, Nicholas Hlobo, Hiwa K, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Zanele Muholi, Susan Philipsz, Robin Rhode, and Stephanie Syjuco.

Season 9 premieres September 21, 2018 on PBS (check local listings). Full episodes and segments can be streamed from,, and through PBS streaming platforms following each episode’s broadcast premiere.

Now in its ninth season, Art in the Twenty-First Century is the longest-running contemporary art series anywhere, providing unprecedented access to the greatest creative minds of our time.

Continuing the thematic focus introduced in previous season of the series, the new season draws upon artists’ relationships with the places in which they work: Berlin, Germany; Johannesburg, South Africa; and the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA. Watch as eleven artists and one nonprofit art center make art, talk about it, and wrestle with complicated histories, conceptions of gender, and the implications of technology, migration, and more.

“Berlin” Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg Olafur Eliasson Hiwa K Susan Philipsz

“Johannesburg” David Goldblatt Nicholas Hlobo Zanele Muholi Robin Rhode

“San Francisco Bay Area” Creative Growth Art Center Katy Grannan Lynn Hershman Leeson Stephanie Syjuco

“Place is an enduring anchor, for artists and for each of us,” says Art21 executive director and chief curator, Tina Kukielski. “Our relationships to our surroundings capture a reverence to the history ingrained in our culture and the creativity that fuels our livelihood.”

Motivated by stories both shared and personal, the artists featured in the new season channel a unique set of relationships to place, all while translating their experiences into lasting contributions that speak to broad cultural change. In addition to the season’s eponymous focal regions of Berlin, Johannesburg, and the San Francisco Bay Area, artists are shown engaging with communities from around the world—including those in Amsterdam, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Kassel, Knislinge, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris, Vienna, as well as San Francisco and the Bay Area cities of Berkeley and Oakland.

The artists in the new season draw inspiration from the culture and history that influence their surroundings, responding to the issues of our time—identity, migration, innovation, media, and legacy. These artists examine the complicated histories of colonization, war, and displacement; offer new perspectives on the ways that we interact with technology and the environment; critique our conceptions of gender, sexuality, and race; and ultimately inspire us to see our world in new ways.

Through nine seasons of its television series and over 300 episodes from its two original digital series, the Art21 video library is home to over 50 hours of film documenting the works and words of today’s foremost visual artists. “Artists learn from other artists, but the lineage of inspiration doesn’t end there,” said artist Julie Mehretu. “Creativity exists in everyone—it’s empowering to have direct access to artists’ voices in the way that Art21 provides it.”

Season 9 of Art in the Twenty-First Century premieres September 21, 2018 on PBS. Full episodes and segments can be streamed from,, and through PBS streaming platforms following each episode’s broadcast premiere. The television and streaming broadcast will be preceded by a world premiere event in New York City taking place on September 19, 2018.

Major support for Season 9 of “Art in the Twenty-First Century” is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, the Lambent Foundation, Agnes Gund, the Ford Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis, and The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.



Berlin has become a haven for artists from all over the world—a free zone where experimentation, individual expression, and international influences converge. From creating large-scale public projects to intimately personal ones, the artists in this hour demonstrate the diversity of practice and sensibilities in the German capital. With the support of his interdisciplinary studio, Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967, Copenhagen, Denmark), produces epic, technically sophisticated sculptures and installations, using natural elements like light, water, and air to alter viewers’ sensory perceptions. Expanding the role of the artist, Eliasson contemplates how art can function as a “civic muscle,” offering solutions to global problems like climate change and renewable energy. Sculptor-musician duo Nathalie Djurberg (b.1978, Lysekil, Sweden) and Hans Berg (b. 1978, Rättvik, Sweden) create playful and bawdy clay-animation films and installations that riff on fables, allegories, and myths. Together, they build elaborate immersive environments that marry moving images with hypnotic musical scores. Hiwa K (b. 1975, Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq) questions his role as an artist within the ever-shifting political landscapes in Europe and the Middle East. The sculptures, videos, and performances by the Iraqi-Kurdish artist slyly mix his biography with the larger story of migration and East-West relations in Europe. Susan Philipsz (b. 1965, Glasgow, Scotland) treats audio as a sculptural object, using historically-resonant sources—like an orchestral work by a composer who was interned in a German concentration camp in the 1940s—to create unexpectedly haunting and lyrical installations.


Since the dramatic fall of apartheid in 1994, Johannesburg has emerged as the artistic capital of sub-Saharan Africa. Collectively, the artists in this hour use their work to empower marginalized communities, reexamine history, and pursue their visions for South Africa’s future. Robin Rhode (b. 1976, Cape Town, South Africa) and his team of assistants create vibrant, temporary outdoor murals that serve as backdrops for photographed performances. Working in the neighborhood where he grew up—a mixed-race community plagued by drug and gang wars—Rhode leads a team of local young men in creating a new mural and shares his hopes for what participation in an art project can offer. Considered the dean of South African photography, David Goldblatt (b. 1930, Randfontein, South Africa) chronicles and critiques the country’s tumultuous modern history. His earliest projects captured the desperate lives of African gold miners and critically probed white Afrikaner privilege, and his more recent series examines the country’s changing politics through the evolution of its architectural structures. Joyful and courageous, Zanele Muholi (b. 1972, Durban, South Africa) photographs Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals in South Africa, driven by her intense dedication to increasing the visibility of one of the country’s most vulnerable communities. Muholi photographs LGBTI individuals in the hopes of eradicating the stigma and violence that has pervaded queer communities in South Africa. Nicholas Hlobo (b. 1975, Cape Town, South Africa) creates gorgeously handcrafted paintings, sculptures, and performances to quietly and subversively examine his sexuality, masculinity, and Xhosa heritage within South African culture. Hlobo weaves together symbolic bodily innuendos and historical references in his work, examining and exposing the challenges of the country’s young democracy.

“San Francisco Bay Area”

The San Francisco Bay Area is a magnet for artists who are drawn to its experimental atmosphere, countercultural spirit, and history of innovation. The artists in this hour are united by their steadfastness and persistence in creating; their art serves as an essential expression of their experience of the world. Stephanie Syjuco (b. 1974, Manila, Philippines) makes research-driven photographs, sculptures, and installations that explore the tension between the authentic and the counterfeit and challenge deep-seated assumptions about history, race, and labor. As a flashpoint of social and political protest, the Bay Area spurs Syjuco’s investigations of colonialism, capitalism, and citizenship. Photographer and filmmaker Katy Grannan (b.1969, Arlington, Massachusetts, USA) develops long-term relationships with the residents of western American cities and towns, which generate beautiful and unsettling images. Lynn Hershman Leeson (b. 1941, Cleveland, Ohio, USA) is at once a pointed critic and a sly practical jokester, as she explores the roles that technology, media, and artifice play in society. Overlooked for the better part of her decades-long career, Leeson is now recognized as a pioneering multidisciplinary artist and critiques the gender biases that excluded her and other women artists. Established at the height of the disability-rights movement, Creative Growth Art Center (founded 1974, Oakland, California, USA) is a nonprofit organization serving artists with physical and cognitive disabilities. Predicated on the belief that art is fundamental to human expression and that all people are entitled to its tools of communication, Creative Growth is an incubator of artistic activity that has fostered exemplary artists such as Dan Miller, Judith Scott, William Scott, and Monica Valentine.

Series Credits

Executive Producer Tina Kukielski

Series Producer Nick Ravich

Directors & Producers Ian Forster (“Johannesburg”) Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland (“Berlin”) Christine Turner (“San Francisco Bay Area”)

Editors Thomas Niles (“Berlin”) Morgan Riles (“Johannesburg”) Mary Ann Toman (“San Francisco Bay Area”)

Title & Motion Design Matt Eller / Afternoon Inc.

Composer Joel Pickard