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How To Get On In The Art World 

Episode Guide: How To Get On In The Art World

Episode Guide: How To Get On In The Art WorldView GalleryImage 2Image 3Image 4Image 5Image 6Image 7Image 8Image 9

Posted: Friday, 16th November 2007

Modern art used to be a standing joke in Britain - remember the brouhaha over Carl Andre's bricks at the Tate? It certainly isn't anymore. Domestic sales of contemporary art are worth more than £500m annually, commanding more than half of all European art sales. And this year, for the first time ever, sales are expected to exceed those of Old Masters. We increasingly desire art that speaks of and for our times. So what has turned us from a nation of cynics into a nation of collectors?

'Imagine: How To Get On In The Art World' sees Alan Yentob immerse himself in this vibrant world during the week of the 5th Frieze Art Fair in October, the centre of the British contemporary art calendar. He sees past the kisses and handshakes to crack the sophisticated codes that govern the way the contemporary art market operates. He discovers the ascendant position that London has acquired as the hub of the global market in recent years, a market that is worth $22bn a year. And while the conventional wisdom decrees that this buoyancy must be a 'boom' or 'bubble', fuelled by the appetite of emerging economic superpowers such as China and Russia, it becomes apparent that this could be only the early stages of a much bigger economic explosion.

Centring on the mad bustle and excitement of Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park, the film examines the love-hate dynamic in the art world between art and money, how it frequently feeds the creation of art and asks why owning it has become the de rigeur status symbol for the rich. It used to be Gainsborough or Reynolds; now the expensive London home is more likely to sport a Damien Hirst or Gary Hume. Alan Yentob looks at why our artistic focus has shifted and the implications it has for everyone involved.

In the course of his inquiry, Alan Yentob meets artists, gallerists and collectors who explain their role in this seductive world and offer revealing insights into the practices that take place within it. He visits Turner Prize winner Keith Tyson in New York as he prepares for the opening of his spectacular new show, 'Large Field Array'. He experiences the uniquely transformative painting style of Boo Ritson; he is granted a audience with shooting-from-the-hip cult American critic Dave Hickey; and he follows the Bad Boys of British art, Jake and Dinos Chapman, as they perform their most outlandish stunt yet at Frieze. He tries his hand at buying at trendy auctioneers Phillips de Pury as they host a Russian contemporary sale. And, by the close of the Fair, he endeavours to spend £5,000 of his money on a piece of contemporary art for his home. Not as easy as you might think...

How To Get On In The Art World, BBC ONE, 22.35 Tuesday 20th November 2007

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