CNN International launches new monthly series

MUMBAI: CNN International is set to launch a new monthly arts series - Icon, which will focus on visual arts, architecture, literature, music, photography, dance, opera, fashion and design, accompanied by interviews with their innovators and influencers.

Starting 28 July, the new programme will examine how classic cultural icons have influenced new trends and ideas and will challenge itself and its viewers to identify new icons in the making.

The show takes viewers to the Louvre and the Guggenheim, the Tate and the Turner Prize, the Bolshoi and the Met and the Venice Biennale and Fashion Weeks in a fresh, intelligent and accessible way which sees presenter Monita Rajpal stepping into the frame of the designer's studio, going behind the camera and onto the catwalk under the eye of iconic guests and trend-spotters who share their insights and reveal their influences.

CNN International VP of coverage and feature programming Mike McCarthy says, “Icon throws open the doors to the eclectic world of arts and culture around the globe through a mix of rare access and top-name interviews with the vibrant stars of today’s creative industries. We hope our audience will also get involved in helping us find the icons of tomorrow.”

The channel has also launched a dedicated website for the show. Visitors can help shape Icon's future content by voting for their own cultural icons. The most popular will be on display in an interactive gallery space online and featured on the show.

The website hosts the 'icon' shows for online viewing, plus features image galleries, and will also house web-exclusive video of globally renowned cultural icons.

Viewers can also join CNN’s community of user contributors via the iReport website.

In the July show, CNN’s Monita Rajpal takes viewers to the Louvre Museum in Paris, where she sits down for an exclusive interview about an artist’s inspiration and fearlessness with IM Pei, the 93-year-old Pritzker Prize winning architect behind the Pyramids, now one of Paris’ most notable landmarks and recognised as a pinnacle of architectural innovation.

Rajpal also goes behind the scenes at the museum to see the unveiling of the newly restored Venus De Milo. Plus she joins members of the Royal House of Saud, including HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities for the inaugural unveiling of The Road to Arabia, a 40-year research and archaeological project which is the Louvre’s latest exhibition.

In August, she will travel to the Swiss Alps resort of Montreaux which has, for more than four decades, been home to the annual jazz festival. She meets founder Claude Nobs who introduces her to music icons Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock. She also meets Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto who has customised two classic Gibson guitars to auction at the festival and challenges him to redesigns the famous red CNN logo.

The show also visits Nashville, Tennessee, the heart of the country music business, where 'icon' embarks upon a tour of the Gibson guitar factory to learn about one of music’s most iconic designs – the Gibson Les Paul. The team talks to several famous axemen – including ZZ Top founder Billy Gibbons – about their loving relationship with the instrument and witness the birth of the world’s first CNN Custom Gibson Les Paul!

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