CORVALLIS - The 10 artists chosen for portrayal in a new 10-part series on art that will be televised nationally by the Public Broadcasting System weren't chosen for their diverse backgrounds.
They were selected because they were the best in their respective fields, according to Oregon State University art professor Henry Sayre.
The diversity just came with the selections.
"This is an extraordinary group of people," Sayre said. "We honestly weren't seeking any special mix of backgrounds, but the selections really mirror what is happening in the art world today. It has shifted that much.
"If we had made these selections 20 years ago - using the same criteria - we would probably have had a majority of white males."
Each artist will show the creative process behind their work for the PBS series, "A World of Art: Works in Progress."
The group and their order of appearance in the series includes:
- Lorna Simpson - In 1995, she designed a group of large-scale landscapes printed on felt. One of her recurring themes is the ambiguous terrain connecting words and images.
- Guillermo Gomez-Pena - A Mexican performance artist, poet and activist, he draws awareness to the physical and mental separation between the U.S. and Mexico. He was filmed during a performance at Washington D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery one week before the Presidential election.
- Bill Viola - Perhaps the leading American video artist, he represented the United States in 1995 at the Venice Biennale. The program follows his creation of "The Greeting."
- Hung Liu - This leading contemporary painter was born in China and trained in Russian Social Realist tradition. Liu is seen painting a series of works on the Last Emperor and his court.
- Beverly Buchanan - Her work - which includes photography, painting, drawing and sculpture - examines the role of the shack in rural southern culture, not only as a dwelling, but as aesthetic expression.
- June Wayne - She is the founder of Tamarind, perhaps the most prestigious lithography studio in the U.S. Wayne is represented by a series of prints in New York City .
- Milton Resnick - The last living member of the New York School of painters or abstract expressionists, Resnick is filmed over an eight-month period painting five large canvasses.
- Judy Baca - Known for her mile-long mural in Los Angeles depicting Chicano history, Baca focuses on the social and political problems facing Latin Americans. In this program, she completes a mural on the USC campus.
- Goat Island - A performance troupe, Goat Island incorporates visual imagery with music, dance, movement and narrative. The program will look at the group's early rehearsals and a later performance of a piece that it performed throughout England in 1996.
- Mierle Ukeles - An artist-in-residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation, Ukeles is involved in redesigning and reclaiming the largest landfill in North America, a Staten Island project that will continue for many years.
-30- Note: This is a sidebar to a news story about a $1.2 million Annenberg Corporation grant to OSU that resulted in a 10-part PBS series, a book and study guide, and a CD-ROM about art.