Photo from here
It's great when you find something you didn't even know you were looking for. The often-excellent Smashing Telly posted this documentary a couple of days ago: in keeping with the arty vibes currently on show around here, it's the first episode of a six-part series by English art critic Matthew Collings. It's called This is Modern Art, and it first aired on Channel 4 all the way back in 1998.
I was lucky enough to visit some wonderful galleries this year, and as a complete art novice, having someone like Mr Collings to talk about what I was seeing would have really brought the work to life.
Collings has a very dry wit (so dry, in fact, that as the show began, I thought it was going to be a one-man diatribe against modern art) which lets this show bypass the stuffiness and pretentiousness often associated with the art world, factors which also sadly keep so many people away from it.
This first episode takes a (mercifully brief) look at a few of the YBAs who were so popular in the hip, knowing '90s, before going on to profile Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol, their work and their influence on modernism. This is excellent stuff, really worth a look as an Everything You Wanted To Know About Modern Art But Were Afraid To Ask!-type introduction. Those already versed in modern art should enjoy Collings' interesting take on its history.
This Is Modern Art (1998) - Episode 1
(Part 2, 3, 4, 5)