ART & THE 60s (3 x 60’)

BBC, 2004

“Gloriously wry and informative”
The Times

This is the wild story of art in London in the 1960s, told by the extraordinary cast of artists and dealers who were part of the scene at the time. Interviewees include Kenneth Anger, Anthony Caro, Patrick Caulfield, Jim Dine, Richard Long, Mark Boyle, Marianne Faithfull, Barry Flanagan, Kasmin, Kenneth Noland, Gustav Metzger, John Latham, David Medalla, Anita Pallenberg and Yoko Ono.  Some are cool, some sardonic and others downright curmudgeonly.  Many of the contributors have since died, making this series a unique and precious historical document.


Ep 1 portrays art in the social whirl.  The film is a tale of two dealers – the flamboyant, gay and extravagantly promiscuous old Etonian Robert Fraser and Kasmin, the cool intellectual businessman, who – in a typically chic 60s gesture - ditched his first name John.  Fraser’s gallery epitomised swinging London in all its novelty and glamour, while Kasmin’s stable of artists pursued the high-minded abstract avant-garde.  By the end of the decade, Fraser’s gallery had gone bust and he had retreated to India to devote his life to tantric sex and dancing.  Kasmin’s gallery closed in 1972.



Ep 2 tells the story of a revolution in British sculpture.  In the space of just ten years, sculpture went from Henry Moore’s bronzes on plinths to Gilbert and George serving cold baked beans in ice cream cones.  At the heart of this brilliant and bizarre explosion of ideas was St Martin’s School of Art, where the seeds of today’s contemporary art were sown.



Ep 3 presents artists who worked outside the commercial art world and who incorporated countercultural politics into their work.  The film describes John Latham’s impromptu performance where he burned books, Gustav Metzger’s Destruction in Art Symposium in 1966 and the shortlived Indica Gallery, where Yoko Ono met John Lennon.


“Bright, consistently entertaining films, crammed with amusing and informative recollections”
The Financial Times
A fascinating romp
Time Out
“You don’t have to know anything about 60s art to get a lot of enjoyment from Vanessa Engle’s terrific documentaries – a fascinating series of snapshots”
The Radio Times
“A great introduction to the art of the time”
The Sunday Telegraph
“Like one of Fraser’s parties, it’s a lot of fun”
The Sunday Times
“Tune in to BBC4 for Vanessa Engle’s series on the art of the 60s and you’ll see how to deal with a subject as broad and amorphous as the art of a decade”
The Daily Telegraph


Producer/director: VANESSA ENGLE



Assistant producer: SVETLANA PALMER


Executive producer: ANTHONY WALL