“The Sixth Year” is a web series (of sorts) commissioned by downtown New York art space Ludlow 38 and written by Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda that pools the talents of several up-and-comers from the independent film scene, including Rick Alverson (“The Comedy”), Alex Ross Perry (“The Color Wheel”), Kentucker Audley (“Sun Don’t Shine”) and Cory Mcabee (“The American Astronaut”).
Each installment of the five-episode series is directed by a different filmmaker — the first by Alverson, the second by Loretta Fahrenholz (“Ditch Plains”), the third by Perry, the fourth by artists Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi and the fifth by Dustin Guy Defa (“Person by Person”). Producer Jakob Schillinger describes “The Sixth Year” as “an art world drama series” that “re-interprets the format of the TV series.”
Set in the New York art world, it stages the backstage and theatricalizes the social interactions and power games, the aspirations, passions, and everyday realities of the field. The screenplay is based on interviews with artists, curators, gallerists, collectors, and art advisors, whose opinions, anecdotes, and gossip it abstracts and extrapolates into a fictional narrative.
The art world is as rich a subject as it is an exploited one. Its internal contradictions and its entanglements with capital and power have nourished several generations of institutional critique; reality shows and lifestyle magazines cater to an ever-growing popular interest in its glamor and extravagant personalities; and a wave of gossip-based art has recently exploited its group dynamics and explicated its language games. Situated somewhere between Andrea Fraser, Gallery Girls, and Jerry Magoo, The Sixth Year seeks, above all, ambiguity of form.