SEGMENT: Mary Heilmann in "Fantasy"

Now Playing: SEGMENT: Mary Heilmann in "Fantasy"

About this video

“Every piece of abstract art that I make has a back story,” says Mary Heilmann, who relays youthful fantasies of wanting to be a Catholic martyr, her childhood dream to become an artist, as well as the antagonism she experienced in school when transitioning from pottery to painting. Shown completing a new body of work, the segment begins in the artist’s secluded Bridgehampton studio on Long Island. “My spiritual life is very important to me and I think the artworks are icons,” says Heilmann, who believes in the ecumenical power of art to “transport a person in a soulful, rich way, without having any fear of punishment or Hell or sin.” The segment also features Heilmann’s touring retrospective at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, where she's designed colorful chairs on wheels that viewers can use to relax, meditate, or socialize with one another and have “a conversation through the work.”

Featured in this video

Additional Videos

Season Episode number Episode name Artists Durationsort icon Release date
Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 5 (2009) 2 Fantasy Cao Fei 0:00 10/14/2009
Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 5 (2009) 3 Transformation Yinka Shonibare MBE 0:00 10/21/2009
Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 5 (2009) 3 Transformation Cindy Sherman 0:00 10/21/2009
Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 5 (2009) 3 Transformation Paul McCarthy 0:00 10/21/2009
Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 5 (2009) 4 Systems Julie Mehretu 0:00 10/28/2009
Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 5 (2009) 4 Systems John Baldessari 0:00 10/28/2009
Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 5 (2009) 4 Systems Kimsooja 0:00 10/28/2009
Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 5 (2009) 4 Systems Allan McCollum 0:00 10/28/2009