Provocative Art Critic, Whose Groundbreaking TV Series Taught New Ways of Understanding Art, Dies at 90

Jan 3, 2017  •  Post A Comment

The art critic behind a TV series that has been called one of the most influential art programs of all time has died. The New York Times reports that John Berger, a British critic, novelist and screenwriter, died Monday at his home in the Paris suburb of Antony. He was 90.

Berger’s 1972 BBC series “Ways of Seeing,” which was adapted into a book published the same year under the same title, challenged traditional perspectives on art.

“As the host of ‘Ways of Seeing,’ with his shaggy hair and tieless, loud-patterned shirt, Mr. Berger was a public intellectual who became a countercultural celebrity in 1970s Britain, where the BBC kept the four-part series in frequent rotation,” The Times reports. “The book became an art-school standard on both sides of the Atlantic.”

The report adds: “He set the insurrectionary tone in the show’s opening sequence, taking a box cutter to a mock-up of Botticelli’s ‘Venus and Mars’ and slicing out the portrait of Venus.”

That opening can be seen at the start of the first episode in the clip below …

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