Your summer art appreciation class begins tonight.
Robert Lloyd at the Los Angeles Times has a great review of the new PBS series SIMON SCHAMA’S POWER OF ART which begins tonight, Monday, June 18 at 8:00 p.m. on NPT-Channel 8 with “Van Gogh,” followed by “Picasso” at 9:00 p.m. The series continues on consecutive Mondays, June 25-July 30, 2007, 9-10:00 p.m., exploring the dramatic turning points in the lives of eight artists and the Masterpieces that changed the way the world looks at art.
Schama offers a few complementary definitions of what makes great art great as the series goes along — he likes it to jump off the wall and knock you around the head, basically. “This is, for me, what all great art has to do — crash into our lazy routines” more or less sums it up. His prose can go right over the top, like a root beer poured too fast — the Impressionists “marinating the meat of human existence in the rinse of their luminescence” (yum!) — and his delivery can be comically arch at times, especially when it’s tinged with disapproval. But much of what he has to say hits the mark — David’s “The Death of Marat” “makes ideas blaze in dry ice” — with a poetry you don’t hear much around these parts.
After Van Gogh and Picasso, subsequent series episodes will focus on Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner and Rothko. PBS has a wonderful and informative web site at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/powerofart/.
If you’re visiting the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville in the next month, look for the NPT/Power of Art Poster (above).