Preview | Everybody Knows... Elizabeth Murray - About the Film

Photograph @1994, Sidney B. Felsen

Premieres Friday, September 7 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)

Available to stream September 8 on and on PBS apps 

With the four-part Artists Flight series, American Masters explores the lives of iconic visual artists Eva Hesse, Elizabeth Murray, Andrew Wyeth and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

This intimate portrait of maverick painter and printmaker Elizabeth Murray explores the relationship between her family life and career, and reconsiders her place in contemporary art history. Excerpts from her journals voiced by Meryl Streep, verité footage and home videos show Murray’s internal struggles and incredible ambition. Exclusive interviews with art world luminaries describe the thriving New York art scene within which Murray challenged and captivated her viewers. In 2005, Murray was the fifth woman to be celebrated with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Breaking convention, Murray’s paintings still defy efforts at categorization. Through them she made an indelible imprint on the contemporary art world. This film chronicles her remarkable journey from an impoverished childhood in Chicago to the extraordinary art world of lower Manhattan, before she lost her life to cancer in 2007. American Masters: Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray cements Murray’s legacy as one of the great painters of our time. Directed and produced by Kristi Zea.

American Masters: Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray is a RubyRed Productions and Human Arts Association Production. Kristi Zea is director and producer. Jacki Ochs is executive producer and producer. Funding is provided in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Stanley Family Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman Foundation, Agnes Gund through the A G Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Sarah Peter, Anne H. Bass, Ehrenkranz Family Foundation, Peter McHugh and Louise McNamee, Robert and Sylvia Mangold, and Sidney Felsen and Joni Moisant Weyl.

Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional support provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Vital Projects Fund, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, Judith and Burton Resnick, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation and public television viewers.

New York contemporary art maverick Elizabeth Murray painting. Credit: © Barry Kornbluh. Elizabeth Murray, December 1987.

See more art work by Elizabeth Murray.


Transcript Print

Words like zany and goofy are not words that one associates in a way with kind of high art The interesting thing about Elizabeth Murray is that she was a feminist without having to talk about it At a time when people were beginning to say well I can't have children and be an artist I can't be taken seriously if I'm married he appeared to make virtually no concessions to anything 'Whatever it is I'm making, God knows if it's art or not. It's the one instance where I don't give a **** what anyone thinks?'