Selected Television Viewings:

‘Hans Hofmann: Artist Teacher’
Aired on ‘Artsworld’ January 5th, 2007

Very interesting biography of German born American painter Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) narrated by Robert DeNiro whose parents were pupils of Hofmann’s.

‘Plasticity’
‘Push-Pull’
‘Depth’

http://www.pbs.org/hanshofmann/index.html

‘Waste Man’
Aired on ‘Channel 4’ 2nd December, 2006

Penny Woolcock’s documentary about the making and burning of Anthony Gormley’s 25 metre high sculpture in Margate as part of the Margate ‘Exodus’, a contemporary re-telling of the Book of Exodus, the story of Moses and his search for the promised land.

http://www.margateexodus.org.uk/home.php

‘Is This Art?’
Aired on ‘Artsworld’ 2nd December, 2006

4 artists of varying disciplines discuss their practices, two of whom are:

1 – Stelarc – Australian-based performance artist who incorporates themes of cyborgization and other human-machine interfaces in his work.

Human Sculpture/Installation/Performance Art
Robotics
Biomaterial
Suspension Performances

http://www.stelarc.va.com.au/

2 – Julien Maire – German-based French born artist.

Bricolage
Low-tech film making
Large ‘live’ projections with real objects inside the projector – ‘live art’.

‘The Art of Eric Gill’ (1882-1940)
Aired on ‘Artsworld’ 1st December, 2006

The programme concentrated more on Gill’s stone sculpture (some black marble and wood) and his Catholic faith than any of his other forays into the Art & Design world, touching briefly on typography. The program was narrated by his own words and writings.

“The shapes of letters do not derive their beauty from any sensual or sentimental reminiscence. No one can say that the ‘O’s roundness appeals to us only because it is like that of an apple or a girl’s breast or of the full moon. We like the circle because such liking is ‘connatural’ to the human mind.”

“Bad workmen quarrel with their tools because good workmen do not use bad tools.” 1916.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Gill

‘Great Artists: Van Gogh’ (1853-1890)
Aired on ‘Artsworld’ 1st December 2006

A simple, frank biography telling the tragic story of one the most famous artists in history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh

‘Great Artists: Klimt’ (1862-1918)
Aired on ‘Artsworld’ 15th December, 2006

Viennese Symbolist artist from the Art Nouveau period most famous for his gold leaf adorned paintings such as “The Kiss” (1908).

“Great Art is created by the few for the benefit of the few.” (Schiller)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klimt

The Stoclet Palace
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palais_Stoclet

“Drawing The Line – A Portrait of Keith Haring’ (1958-1990)
Aired on ‘Artsworld’ 15th December, 2006

A good biography of a ‘Pop Artist’ from the 1980’s. Starting with chalk drawings that started to appear on the NYC subway system. (The original ‘Banksy’.)

Studied Semiotic theory – signs and symbols.

Carried on through gallery exhibitions and subsequently to forms of ‘Commercial Art’ (illustration campaigns.)

“People don’t understand that there could possibly be any other motivation to do something that reaches a lot of people or to communicate in a different way, in a new medium or a new technique.” – A response by Haring to art critics criticisms of his growing commercialism.

He opened his own store on Lafayette Street, SoHo, NYC which closed in 2005 and another in Tokyo which closed in1988. These stores known as The Pop Shop sold memorabilia of his designs and every area of the stores was devoted to Haring’s work including painted walls. The Tokyo Pop Shop was shipped in its entirety to Europe and was recently restored and exhibited in Saint Tropez, France by art publisher George Mulder of Berlin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Haring

‘Toulouse-Lautrec: The Full Story’ (1864-1901)
Aired on ‘Channel 4’ 16th December, 2006

A two hour long biography of the life and work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec written and presented by Waldemar Januszczak.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toulouse_Lautrec

Simon Schama’s Power of Art’ – Picasso: The Story of Guernica’
Aired on ‘BBC 2’ 1st December, 2006

Picasso became personally insensed in the plight of the Basque’s after the wall of the Prado Museum was bombed.

In 1936 the small Basque town of Guernica with a poulation of 7000 was bombed, they were an anti-Franco (and his regime) group of people and for this they were bombed by a German Luftwaffe (six bombs were dropped) then a ‘wave’ of German and Italian planes followed and dropped 5000 more bombs and opened machine gun fire on the fleeing townsfolk as they fled into the streets and fields. 1645 people died and thousands were injured.

Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) reaction to this and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) itself was to paint ‘Guernica’ a 20ftx12ft canvas in 1937.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_%28painting%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picasso

‘Simon Schama’s Power of Art’ – Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Aired on ‘BBC 2’ 8th December, 2006

On February 25th, 1970, Nine paintings arrived at The Tate Gallery, a few hours earlier the author of the works, Mark Rothko was found dead following his suicide.

Rothko was a part of the American Abstract Expressionist group of painters which also included the likes of Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning.

In 1958, Rothko was awarded the first of two major commissions that proved both rewarding and frustrating. They were to be the last major artistic statements of the artist’s career. The beverage company Joseph Seagram and Sons had recently completed their new building on Park Avenue, designed by architects Mies Van der Rohe and Philip Johnson. Rothko agreed to provide wall paintings for the building’s restaurant, The Four Seasons; this was the first time he was required to not only design a series of paintings but to produce artwork for a specific space. Over the following three months, Rothko completed forty paintings, three full series in dark red and brown, altering his horizontal format to the vertical to complement the restaurant’s vertical features: columns, walls, doors and windows. The majority of the program revolved around this.

The following June, Rothko and his family traveled to Europe and while on the SS Independence he disclosed to John Fischer, publisher of Harper’s, his true intention for the Seagram murals was to paint “something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room. If the restaurant would refuse to put up my murals, that would be the ultimate compliment. But they won’t. People can stand anything these days.”

Once back in New York, Rothko and Mell visited the Four Seasons and, upset by the restaurant’s pretentious atmosphere, Rothko abandoned the project on the spot, deciding to return his advance to Seagram and Bros. and keep the paintings for himself. (The final series was dispersed and now hangs in three locations: London’s Tate Gallery, Japan’s Kawamura Memorial Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.)

More on Simon Schama’s series ‘The Power of Art’ can be seen @
http://bbc.co.uk/powerofart

‘Imagine – http://www.herecomeseverybody.co.uk’
Aired on ‘BBC 1’ 5th January, 2007

Alan Yentob journeys into the world wide web to find how it began, who’s hanging out there and where it’s taking us.

Very interesting program with interviews with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet amongst others.

The program also mentioned in detail the ‘myspace’ and ‘youtube’ phenomena and asked the questions, ‘Where are the children?’ and ‘Is television in crisis?’

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