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Re: art and the 60s: this was tomorrow at the tate britain london...

From: Eva
Category: TV
Date: 12 August 2004


Having viewed the last two of the three programmes in this BBC4 series I did not feel the bitterness you take such pleasure in describing emanating from the artists themselves. This was after all a programme about what they were doing in the 60s, not about what they are doing now. It seems that the main thrust of your comment is that they have failed simply by having gotten older.

There were serious problems with both documentaries I saw. Many of the artists were clearly suspicious of being filmed, and responded to Vanessa Engels' questions in a very defensive manner, but not without humour or self awareness. The way their contributions were cut was also disingenuous. Funny that the camera was still rolling after Richard Long had said "Cut" when he re-staged one of his famous walks, and amusing to have the solemnity removed by hearing him tentatively ask the film crew "how was that, was that okay?", but it was still an abuse of trust, and not the only one in the series.

At the end of the last programme Engels summed up artists' entire careers with damning one line voiceovers. A image of Gustav Metzger in half-light carried the voiceover "Metzger is still not represented by a gallery", followed by "Yoko Ono continues to be a practicing artist". After having bored us with excessive gossip about the exact circumstances of Yoko Ono and John Lennon's first meeting, this final juxtaposition seemed to sum up the values of Engels and her crew, and partly explains why she had such difficulty engaging with her chosen subject.

This programme is being repeated on BBC2, possibly on the 22nd August.

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