Airs Tuesdays, April 17-May 15 & June 12-July 3, 2018 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV
Monday, April 23, 2018
Credit: Courtesy of Nutopia Ltd
—PBS Presents a Nine-Part Global Series Exploring the Power of Art From Earliest Civilizations to the Present—
Inspired by CIVILISATION, Kenneth Clark’s acclaimed landmark 1969 series about Western art, this bold new series from Nutopia broadens the canvas to reveal the role art and the creative imagination have played across multiple cultures and civilizations, introducing a new generation to works of beauty, ingenuity and illumination created across continents.
From the landscape scrolls of classical China and the sculpture of the Olmecs to African bronzes, Japanese prints and French Impressionist paintings, CIVILIZATIONS explores the wealth of treasures created through the entirety of the human experience.
The principal contributors to the films are Simon Schama, art historian and Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University New York; Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge; and British-Nigerian historian and writer David Olusoga.
Joining them will be international artists and experts including Jamal J. Elias, Religious Studies professor at the University of Pennsylvania; Rebecca Gonzalez-Lauck, National Institute for Anthropology, Mexico; art critic and historian Jonathan Jones; Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo; Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; and Maya Jasanoff, professor of History at Harvard University.
Using the latest film technology, CIVILIZATIONS is filmed on six continents: Africa, Asia, Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, and neighboring islands in the South Pacific Ocean), Europe, and North and South America.
State-of-the-art drone and camera movement technology, as well as macro-photography, allow viewers to immerse themselves in the extraordinary locations and see the world’s treasures in new ways, bringing remote objects up close in order to celebrate detail, craftsmanship and artistry as never before.
Episode 1: “The Second Moment Of Creation” airs Tuesday, April 17 at 8 p.m. - Examine the formative role of art and the creative imagination in the forging of humanity itself. Images and artifacts found in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and South America testify to the urge to develop civilizations. Liev Schreiber narrates.
Episode 2: “How Do We Look?” airs Tuesday, April 24 at 8 p.m. - Explore the many functions of the human image in ancient art. Portraits, paintings and sculptures, both life-size and colossal, performed a role — assuaging loss, expressing strength, inspiring fear — and were instrumental in forming early civilizations.
Episode 3: “God And Art” airs Tuesday, May 1 at 8 p.m. - Trace the relationship between religion and art, which has inspired some of the most ingenious, affecting, majestic and breathtaking works of art ever made. Yet beneath great works of religious art often lie conflict, intrigue and risk.
Episode 4: “Encounters” airs Tuesday, May 8 at 8 p.m. - See how advances in seafaring and a thirst for trade and exploration sent human beings around the planet. Distant and disparate cultures met for the first time, and art became the great interface by which civilizations understood each other.
Episode 5: “Renaissances” airs Tuesday, May 15 at 8 p.m.- Travel east and west to explore the connections and rivalries between Renaissance Italy and the Islamic empires that experienced their own cultural flowering in the 15th and 16th centuries. Both spheres were open to influences flowing both ways.
Episode 6: “Paradise Of Earth” airs Tuesday, June 12 at 8 p.m. - Explore one of humanity’s deepest artistic urges: the depiction of nature. But landscape painting is seldom a straightforward portrayal of observed nature; it's a projection of dreams, idylls, escapes and refuges — the elusive paradise on earth.
Episode 7: “Color And Light” airs Tuesday, June 19 at 8 p.m. - Explore the story of light and color in art - both in the search for greater realism and spiritual ecstasy. Journey from Gothic cathedrals and Indian courtly painting to modern art.
Episode 8: “The Cult Of Progress” airs Tuesday, June 26 at 8 p.m. - Examine the rise and fall of “progress” as an ideology, and see how the “civilizing” project that arose from Enlightenment ideas was fraught with contradictions that troubled European artists in different ways.
Episode 9: “What Is Art Good For?” airs Tuesday, July 3 at 8 p.m. - Explore art in the age of revolution, war and profound scientific change and consider the question: Should art create a separate realm, a place of escape, or should it plunge into the chaos, transforming the way we see and live in the world?
WATCH ON YOUR SCHEDULE:
Episodes will be available to stream on demand for a limited time after broadcast. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.
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A Nutopia production for PBS and BBC in association with the Open University. Executive Producers are Jonty Claypole and Mark Bell for the BBC; and Jane Root, Michael Jackson and Denys Blakeway for Nutopia. Bill Gardner, VP of Programming and Development, oversees the project for PBS. The series producers are Melanie Fall and Shaun Trevisick. CIVILIZATIONS is distributed by BBC Worldwide North America.
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