Preview: Wolfgang Laib in Season 7 of ART21 "Art in the Twenty-First Century" (2014)

In this preview from the ART21 “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season 7 episode, “Legacy,” artist Wolfgang Laib discusses the role of pollen in his work. The artist is seen installing “Pollen from Hazelnut” (2013) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2013—sifting hazelnut pollen collected by the artist since the mid-1990s. “I don’t want to explain to somebody what pollen is,” says the artist. “That is the secret and the beauty and the power and the potential of all this.”

Inspired by the teachings of the ancient Taoist philosopher Laozi, by the modern artist Brancusi, and the legacy of formative life experiences with his family in Germany and India, Wolfgang Laib creates sculptures that seem to connect that past and present, the ephemeral and the eternal. Working with perishable organic materials (pollen, milk, wood, and rice) as well as durable ones that include granite, marble, and brass, he grounds his work by his choice of forms—squares, ziggurats, and ships, among others. His painstaking collection of pollen from the wildflowers and bushes that grow in the fields near his home is integral to the process of creating work in which pollen is his medium. Laib’s attention to human scale, duration of time, and his choice of materials give his work the power to transport us to expected realms of memory, sensory pleasure, and contemplation.

Learn more about the artist at:

Season 7 of “Art in the Twenty-First Century” premieres Friday, October 24, 2014 at 10:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). “Legacy” airs Friday, November 7, 2014.

Learn more about Season 7 at:

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