Main content

Civilisations, Wendy Cope, Contemporary Chinese Art

We review new TV series Civilisations, poet Wendy Cope on her new collection and how political is contemporary Chinese art?

Half a century after Kenneth Clark's ground-breaking television series on the history of art, Civilisation, the BBC has returned to the same subject - a history of visual culture - but pluralised the name and the number of presenters in the new series. Former television critic of the Financial Times Chris Dunkley and writer and classicist Natalie Haynes review.

Wendy Cope is one of the country's best-known and best-loved poets, thanks partly to the fact that her poems are easy to understand and often funny. But they're much more than that: the former poet laureate Andrew Motion said of her that "there is a skip in her step, but these are perfectly serious poems". Her latest collection is Anecdotal Evidence and it reflects on marriage, place, contentment and loss.

The works of twenty-three female contemporary artists working in China today are the focus of NOW, a new series of exhibitions across the UK. Curator Tiffany Leung and British-based artist Aowen Jin consider the status of Chinese female artists inside and outside China and to what extent they feel they have artistic freedom in the current political climate .

Presenter : Kirsty Lang
Producer: Harry Parker.

Available now

30 minutes

Chapters

  • Civilisations

    Duration: 09:19

  • Wendy Cope

    Duration: 08:39

  • Contemporary Art in China

    Duration: 09:59

Civilisations

Civilisations
Shalimar Gardens, Pakistan 
Photo credit: BBC/Nutopia Ltd

Civilisations begins on BBC Two on 15 Mar at 9 pm

Main image:
David Olusoga, Mary Beard and Simon Schama


Contemporary Chinese Art

Contemporary Chinese Art
Peng-Yun, Miss Melissa and Fish

NOW project at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester 


Wendy Cope

Wendy Cope
Wendy Cope
Photo credit: Adrian Harvey

Wendy Cope's poetry collection Anecdotal Evidence is available now

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Lang
Interviewed Guest Chris Dunkley
Interviewed Guest Natalie Haynes
Interviewed Guest Tiffany Leung
Interviewed Guest Wendy Cope
Interviewed Guest Aowen Jin
Producer Harry Parker

Broadcast

Inspire

A season discovering where artists find inspiration and helping listeners get creative.

Front Row on TV

Join Mary Beard and guests for live and late debate on Friday evenings on BBC Two.

BBC Arts Digital

The best of British culture live and on demand.

Podcast