Big Sky, Big Dreams, Big Art: Made in the USA

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From Wild West to Abstract Expressionism

Series 1 - Episode 1 From Wild West to Abstract Expressionism

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Review

Waldemar Januszczak starts his artistic road trip across America in the Wild West where, probably more than anywhere else, art has been shaped by the landscape.

The film is a dizzying kaleidoscope of styles and subject matter that swiftly takes us from rock art in the desert to Diego Rivera’s Mexico City murals and then on to Jackson Pollock’s drip abstracts. Some, but not all, of the names will be familiar: there’s Thomas Moran, an immigrant from Lancashire who painted grand Turner-esque visions of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon; Frederic Remington, whose illustrative depictions of soldiers, cowboys and native Americans romanticised the heroes of the American West; and Thomas Hart Benton, creator of remarkably fluid figures in his murals of rural America (and who used Pollock as a model).

There are gems of information scattered throughout the film but precious little time to reflect on them, as Januszczak steams ahead like those iron horses of the American frontier.

Summary

Waldemar Januszczak examines the golden age of American art, beginning in the Wild West with the art of the Hudson River School, before culminating in a celebration of the work of Jackson Pollock, a native of Wyoming who was heavily influenced by the mood of the American West and the example of Native American artists.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Waldemar Januszczak
Director Waldemar Januszczak
Editor Kirsi Pyy
Producer Lidia Ciszewska
Education