State of the Art is an exciting, authoritative and challenging series of documentaries about the visual arts in the 1980s. Filmed in Europe, the United States and Australia in 1985-6, the six programmes feature many key artists including Joseph Beuys, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, Antony Gormley, Hans Haacke and Eric Fischl. Framing the works and ideas of these artists is the intellectual context of the time, and especially the contemporary concerns of post- modernism. Each film adopts a thematic approach, with episodes looking at History, Value, Imagination, Politics, Sexuality and Identity.
Originally seen on Channel 4 in Britain, and then shown in more than twenty countries, State of the Art has been unavailable since its original broadcast. It is released in this twentieth anniversary edition with a specially filmed interview with the writer of the series, Sandy Nairne, now Director of London’s National Portrait Gallery. He considers the unique documentary approaches that the series developed to present art on the screen and reflects on the controversy that the series provoked.
1. History 2. Value 3. Imagination 4. Sexuality 5. Politics 6. Identity