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Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities

Season 1
Huge cultural explosions are often placed at the feet of particular individuals. But the DNA of the cities that fuel this stunning art also have an influence. Art expert James Fox digs into the underbelly of three iconic cities – Vienna, Paris and New York – at pivotal moments in their cultural history, and explores how the atmosphere and streets themselves drove artists to create seminal work.
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  1. S1 E1 - Vienna 1908
    August 19, 2014
    Vienna in 1908 was a seething hotbed of vice, tension and villainy. Gustav Klimt painted The Kiss, Sigmund Freud revealed the Oedipus complex, Egon Schiele produced startling pictures of humanity stripped bare, and music and architecture took radical new steps. But a struggling artist named Adolf Hitler arrived in the city and put Vienna – and the whole of Europe – on a path of destruction.
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  2. S1 E2 - Paris 1928
    August 26, 2014
    Paris in 1928 was a city dedicated to decadence. The artists drawn there were desperate to explore new ideas. Out of this ferment grew surrealists such as Dalí and Magritte, creating work that demolished all preconceptions. The city was also a refuge for black innovators such as dancer Josephine Baker. Art historian James Fox digs into the staggering cultural changes the city undertook.
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  3. S1 E3 - New York 1951
    September 2, 2014
    New York in the early 1950s undertook a cultural revolution of world-defining importance. Every branch of the arts experienced a transformation - from the modern art of Jackson Pollock, the literature of Jack Kerouac to the cinema of Marlon Brando. Art expert James Fox tries to decipher just why this city at this particular time laid the foundations of the world as we know it today.
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Clare Tavernor
Helen Shariatmadari
James Fox
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