The Modern Beauty Season on BBC Two and BBC Four

by Lisa McGarry

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What is modern art? Refreshing, modern, a waste of space, an investment, a high street print… beautiful?

This November the BBC is going to challenge the concept of beauty in modern art with a new season of programmes across BBC Two and BBC Four.

The Modern Beauty Season will examine the perception of beauty both in modern and classical art forms and what that means.

It will look at who the new art stars are, their processes, what is being produced now, what we hang on our walls and how we define it all.

The season features some of the world’s biggest names in art including: Charles Saatchi, Frank Cohen, Jack Vettriano, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry, Sir Anthony Caro and Whitney McVeigh, along with artists and writers: Matt Collings, Waldemar Januszczak, Roger Scruton, Sue Perkins, Gus Casely-Hayford and Ben Lewis.

Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor for Arts, says: “This short season of films takes the temperature of art now.

“We look forward to shedding new light on the big questions: Has modern art lost touch with the public? Are classical values still possible in the modern era? And what do we mean when we talk about beauty?”

BBC Two will open the debate with a mischievous guide to beauty from the earliest points in history through to the present day in a film called What Is Beauty?, presented by artist and critic Matt Collings.

Continuing the debate Waldemar Januszczak, will fly the flag for modern art in Ugly Beauty, arguing that art today is as interested in beauty as it always has been.

Countering this argument, writer and philosopher, Roger Scruton, will argue for the principles of classical art in Why Beauty Matters.

Sue Perkins will contextualise the debate by looking at the art we hang on our walls in The Art On Your Wall, tracing back some of the most popular prints of our time.

With BBC Two and BBC Four continuing to work in partnership to offer viewers a richer viewing experience, BBC Four adds more context to the Modern Beauty season with a documentary from historian and art expert Gus Casely-Hayford who will take a journey to discover the state of British art today in Where Is Modern Art Now?.

The documentaries will broadcast around the centrepiece to the Modern Beauty Season – the forthcoming School Of Saatchi on BBC Two, a four-part series following the search for the next generation of new British artists and looking at the processes behind creating new pieces of art work.

BBC Two: Matt Collings – What is Beauty?, Saturday 14 November, 8.30pm
BBC Two: Sue Perkins – The Art On Your Wall, Monday 16 November, 9.00pm
BBC Four: Gus Casely-Hayford – Where Is Modern Art Now?, Wednesday 18 November, 9.00pm
BBC Two: Waldemar Januscszak – Ugly Beauty, Saturday 21 November, 8.45pm
BBC Two: School Of Saatchi, Tuesday 24 November, 9.00pm (4 x 60-minutes)
BBC Two: Roger Scruton – Why Beauty Matters, Saturday 28 November, 8.45pm

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