Series exploring the history of American art sees Andrew Graham-Dixon feeling the pulse of contemporary America.
Looking for Paradise
In the first episode of a series exploring the history of American art, An...展开drew Graham-Dixon embarks on an epic journey from east to west, following in the footsteps of the pioneers who built the foundations of modern America. He travels to Massachusetts to see the earliest portraits in America depicting the Puritan settlers and visits Pennsylvania to uncover the dark truth behind Benjamin West's most famous painting, the Treaty of Penn with the Indians. In Philadelphia, he turns the pages of one of the world's most expensive books - John James Audubon's Birds of America, and explores the wilderness that inspired the great landscape painter, Thomas Cole. Andrew also uncovers the paradox at the heart of America: that progress and innovation have come at a tragic price - the destruction of the unique cultural heritage of Native Americans by European settlers. His journey takes us to the end of the 19th century and the announcement that the era of westward expansion was officially over.
Andrew Graham-Dixon gets under the skin of the modern American metropolis. Beginning at the Statue of Liberty, he discovers how the ambitions of visionary artists and architects helped America remove itself from the shadow of Europe. In Manhattan he explores the grimy world of early 20th century painters John Sloan and George Bellows, and visits Stockbridge in Massachusetts to find out how Norman Rockwell's oeuvre is not as sentimental as it may seem. In Chicago, he explores the visionary mind of architect Louis Sullivan and travels to the decaying outskirts of the city to see the underside of the American dream. He uncovers the impact the Great Depression had on artists such as Edward Hopper and Arshile Gorky, and finds out how it inspired America's first major art movement - Abstract Expressionism. At Jackson Pollock's studio in Long Island he discovers the secrets of his unique drip technique, and visits Mark Rothko's chapel in Houston.
What Lies Beneath
In Levittown, he uncovers the dark side of post-war consumerism and the role artists have played in challenging the status quo. He visits New York's Metropolitan Museum to see the most subversive artwork of 1950s America, Jasper Johns's White Flag, examines Andy Warhol's soup can paintings and interviews one of the last surviving pop artists, James Rosenquist. In Los Angeles, he looks at the graphic style of Ed Ruscha and the city's unique contribution to 20th century design - Googie architecture. Back east, Andrew visits the home of the late Philip Guston to get a private view of his work, and Jeff Koons's studio to learn how the enfant terrible of contemporary art continues to challenge the boundaries of taste. Finally, he explores the impact 9/11 has had on America and how a new generation of artists, such as Matthew Day Jackson, have made sense of this tragic event.
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