theEYE and its afterlife

theEYE and its afterlife

I was sorry to read last week of the death at the age of 90 of artist William Turnbull (above). You can read fine obituaries of him by Michael McNay for the Guardian and Mark Hudson for The Arts Desk, and there is a fine website devoted to his art here. I first encountered his work when at the impressionable age of 16 I saw the 1971 exhibition of ‘the Alistair McAlpine Gift’. The peer who has been so much in the news lately was then a noted a collector of contemporary art and he had donated to the Tate Gallery sixty works by seven sculptors, including Turnbull. For a long time many of these colourful modern pieces were a bit of an embarassment to Tate and they sat undisturbed in the stores, but more recently their particular qualities have begun to be recognised more. Turnbull too remains comparatively little-known, even if his work has been widely admired and quietly influential. So I was pleased to see last week’s acknowledgement of his achievements, even as his death led me to reflect on our DVD series theEYE - for which we filmed William Turnbull in 2005 - and on its afterlife.
Read more »

Links for the week

Links for the week

In Sunday’s Observer Tim Adams wrote a fascinating article about the the Picasso show at the Tate Gallery in 1960. Suggesting that this was the world’s first ‘art block-buster’, he explored ‘the moment when Picasso, and modernism, finally arrived in Britain’. Well, up to a point… but you could argue that the Picasso and Matisse show at the V&A fifteen years earlier was equally influential – see Lauren Niland’s Guardian archive blog ‘Taking the Picasso’. One aspect of the 1960 Tate show that Adams doesn’t mention is the half-hour outside broadcast for ITV that Kenneth Clark (above, in Civilisation) hosted from the gallery. Much like the programmes that Tim Marlow does now for Sky Arts from major exhibitions, this is a tour-de-force performance by Clark and a fascinating tour of the show. I unearthed it when I was researching my 1993 profile K: Kenneth Clark 1903-1983 and it was subsequently shown on BBC2 (although it now seems to have disappeared again). All of which acts as a trail for Tate Britain’s forthcoming Picasso and Modern British Art which opens 15 February. Across the jump, more links to interesting stuff…
Read more »

Turner time again

Turner time again

Channel 4 brings Turner Prize 2011 back to primetime tonight after a number of years when the announcement of the winner has been tucked away in Channel 4 News. Tune in from 8pm onwards to see how they handle the show, and follow the tweet stream with #tp2011. We have a particular interest (a) because of the years when we handled the coverage for the channel, and (b) because we pitched for tonight’s programme but failed to win it. So if you have any thoughts or comments about the programme, so please contribute them in the Comments below. To get into the mood, you can see Channel 4 and Tate’s short films with each of the short-listed artists here, and you can catch up on 4oD here with our More4 programme Vic Reeves’ Turner Prize Moments about the controversy and television coverage over last twenty years (above, Vic with Cornelia Parker); for background on this, see Linda’s blog here – and, again, let us know what you think below.

We need to talk about Tracey

We need to talk about Tracey

Sunday evening sees our new one-hour broadcast documentary with Vic Reeves looking back at the highs and lows of twenty years of the Turner Prize. (Why Vic Reeves? Because he’s quite a serious painter in his spare time.) Frustratingly, despite our presenter being something of a household name, Vic Reeves’ Turner Prize Moments is scheduled at 11.15pm on More4, sandwiched in between two Father Ted repeats. Broadcasters pride themselves on their scheduling skills. Don’t ask me what the logic is. Something to do with art loving Father Ted fans being insomniacs possibly?
Read more »