Artist-to-Artist: Conversations at MOCA TV Series Stirs Up Excitement for Art Basel

This presidential election, the taxpayer funding of PBS has become one of Mitt Romney's most controversial campaign issues. Now, thanks to Mittens, the fate of television shows such as Sesame Street and Downton Abbey are endangered. So we're quite relieved the presidential inauguration isn't until January, because this fall, there's another great reason to tune into WPBT-PBS Channel 2.

Beginning Sunday, November 6, Miami's Museum of Contemporary of Art brings us Artist-to-Artist: Conversations at MOCA, a television series featuring 16 contemporary artists -- and we can't wait to watch.

In celebration of the museum's 15th anniversary, MOCA invited 16 artists who have played an essential role in shaping the museum's history to film six hours' worth of their conversations. Over the course of four 30-minute episodes, viewers will get an intimate, in-depth look at the perceptions of these artists and their work.

Artists featured in the series include: Daniel Arsham, Tracey Emin, Naomi Fisher, Dara Friedman, Mark Handforth, Ragnar Kjartansson, Isaac Julien, Malcolm Morley, Jorge Pantoja, Enoc Perez, Richard Phillips, Jack Pierson, Matthew Ritchie, David Salle, Magnus Sigurdarson, and Shinique Smith.

MOCA's Executive Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater played her best Jim Lehrer, moderating each panel's discussions on topics ranging from their work to their relationship to the art world to their relationship to Miami. The topics were spontaneous and organically produced by the artists themselves. "I knew that the artists that I put together would make compelling conversations, but I didn't really direct the subject, says Clearwater. " It just naturally flows from one conversation to the other."

Since the mid-1990s, MOCA North Miami has been a defining force in Miami's cultural evolution, presenting over 150 exhibitions of contemporary art by emerging and established artists. If there's one thing Clearwater is hopeful Artist-to-Artist will accomplish, it's to give both art novices and those with an extensive knowledge of art and art history insight on what it's like for artists to make art in a post-Modernism world, and the role Miami has played not only locally, but how it has impacted the rest of the world. "So much of this history of Miami was this idea that Miami was receiving culture from outside over the last two decades," says Clearwater. "Through MOCA we're able to contribute to the world culture. We're not just receiving art and culture, we were actually generating and impacting how the world perceives art." Artist-to-Artist also features commentary by Alberto Ibargüen, CEO and President of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, whose support of the arts has been instrumental to Miami's cultural growth.

Clearwater is also hopeful Artist-to-Artist will rev everyone up for the Art Basel experience in the weeks leading up to the world's most prominent art fair. The artists behind the artworks we see hanging or standing are often forgotten and at times, even unacknowledged. "With Artist-to-Artist they are able to reflect back to us what matters to us, or what should matter to us and that in going to Art Basel and all the frenzy of the events, to remember that there are artists behind what we're looking at," says Clearwater.

Artist-to-Artist: Conversations at MOCA airs Sundays, beginning November 6 at 6 p.m. on channel 2.

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