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Art of America: Modern Dreams (50:56)In this program, Andrew Graham-Dixon shows the role of 19th- and 20th-century artists in helping America to establish its own culture. He goes to Manhattan to examine the grimy world of John Sloan and George Bellows, to Massachusetts for a fresh take on Norman Rockwell, and to Chicago for a look at the work of Louis Sullivan. Graham-Dixon explains how the Great Depression affected Edward Hopper and Arshile Gorky and inspired America’s first internationally acclaimed art movement—Abstract Expressionism. He visits Jackson Pollock’s Long Island studio before flying across America to take in Mark Rothko’s incredible chapel in Houston, Texas.
Bauhaus: The Face of the 20th Century (50:14)This stunning program looks at the development of the Bauhaus and at the key figures involved in it—including the founder Walter Gropius, his successor Mies van der Rohe, László Moholy-Nagy, and Josef Albers. The program also sets the history of the Bauhaus in the context of the political unrest and economic chaos of the Weimar Republic in Germany. The program features numerous experts including Christopher Frayling of the Royal College of Art, architectural historian Charles Jencks, and Dr. Peter Hahn, director of the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin. Former students discuss their time at the Bauhaus, and the eminent architect Philip Johnson tells how it influenced his work. The program contains rare archival footage of the Bauhaus at Dessau and looks at the architecture of Chicago, much influenced by Mies van der Rohe, who emigrated there after the Bauhaus was shut down by the Nazis in 1933.
Dada and Surrealism (1:00:00)The Dada movement, born as a reaction to World War I, and its successor, Surrealism, opened new avenues for artistic creation by striving to bypass the reasoning process and tap directly into the unconscious mind.
Edward Hopper and the Blank Canvas (51:04)This documentary examines American realist painter Edward Hopper's life, including testimonies from people who knew him, and by those inspired by his work, like German filmmaker Wim Wenders. From Mad Men to Blade Runner and The Simpsons, Hopper's scenes of modern American life, most notably Nighthawks, have been recreated in myriad films and TV shows, while his style has influenced the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Terrence Malick. Obsessed with the everyday, Hopper depicted all-night diners, cinemas, gas stations, hotel lobbies, and a theater, filling them with seemingly isolated and alienated figures because he believed loneliness was an inherent feature of city life. This documentary reveals the social and cultural context surrounding Hopper's work, while also exploring his independence as a painter, the many references to his work in film, and the widespread reproduction of his works.
Expressionism (1:04:34)An outgrowth of Fauvism, Expressionism emphasized color's emotional properties while demonstrating far less concern than the Fauves had with the formal and structural composition of color. Contemporary Neo-Expressionism has further developed this artistic approach.This program examines:o Edvard Munch's Ashes (1894), from the National Gallery of Norway, Osloo Franz Marc's The Tiger (1912), from the Municipal Gallery, Lenbachhaus, Municho Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Five Women in the Street (1913), from the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and Museum Ludwig, Cologneo Max Beckmann's Actors (Triptych) (1941-42), from the Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridgeo Georg Baselitz's The Great Friends (1965), from the Museum Moderner Kunst, Viennao Anselm Kiefer's Interior (1981), from the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
The Impact of Cubism (1:00:00)Influenced by the works of Cézanne, African tribal art, and the art of the Iberian peninsula, Cubism—the most influential style of the early 20th century—offered European artists unfamiliar, nonclassical ways to represent form and space.
Realism in 20th-Century American Painting (59:04)Always a strong artistic current in the U.S., Realism has kept pace with the times, first as regionalism and Social Realism—which defined early modernism—and then reemerging as contemporary Photorealism. This program examines: • Grant Wood’s American Gothic (1930), from The Art Institute of Chicago • Georgia O’Keeffe’s The White Calico Flower (1931), from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York • Reginald Marsh’s Twenty Cent Movie (1931), from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York • Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942), from The Art Institute of Chicago • Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World (1948), from the Museum of Modern Art, New York • Richard Estes’ Ansonia (1977), from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Series: Art Deco IconsCharacterized by an interplay of crisp geometry and sumptuous curvilinear forms, Art Deco designs epitomized the early 20th century’s international spirit of modernity. This series uses four architectural and technological case studies to show how the movement swept through Britain in the 1930s, indelibly changing the nation’s cultural and aesthetic character. Architectural historian David Heathcote throws his engaging and scholarly spotlight on the majestic hotel Claridge’s, the soaring London Transport headquarters, the rural mansion known as Casa del Rio, and the legendary Orient Express. 4-part series, 28–29 minutes each.
Wassily Kandinsky: Invisible Shapes (32:39)For Wassily Kandinsky, the father of abstract art, geometric form was the external expression of inner meaning. What sensibilities do art lovers need in order to decode the shapes behind the shapes in his colorful—and, in their day, controversial—paintings? This program introduces the subject of symbolism in Abstract Expressionism through a close examination of Kandinsky’s Yellow-Red-Blue.
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FridaThe life of artist Frida Kahlo, from her humble upbringing to her worldwide fame and controversy that surrounded both her and her husband, Diego Rivera.