CNN embarks on a Quest for Art

MUMBAI: CNN anchor Richard Quest who hosts the show Quest picks up his brush and canvas in October to get under the skin of the art world. The show airs on 28 October at 1130 am, 7:30 pm. On the trail of the big name stars in art, Quest catches up with British artist, David Hockney at the opening of his portrait retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery in London. What does it take to crack the big time? Is mere talent enough? Hockney discusses the path of his career and guides Quest through the treacherous waters of artists, critics, curators, galleries and auction houses. So, is the CNN budding artist up to the challenge?

Quest takes a stab at making a modern masterpiece under the watchful eye of well-liked art icon Rolf Harris. Harris has been a fixture of the popular art scene for decades, introducing generations of children to art in his role as a TV cartoonist, and who recently was chosen to paint a portrait of HM The Queen for her 80th birthday celebrations. With his catchphrase “Do you know what it is yet?” Harris shows Quest how to turn his photo into an impressionist masterpiece.

If it’s that simple to paint, is it actually worth anything? Next stop on this QUEST for art is a trip to world famous auction house Sotheby’s for a fascinating look behind the scenes at a major auction. The lucky gavel, the pre-auction rituals; the whole business of ‘Art’ is probed.

To widen Quest’s appreciation of art, he meets up with two of the best guides in the business, to help him discover his inner aficionado. Evening Standard art critic Brian Sewell takes him on a tour of Britain’s National Gallery, exercising his expert tutelage in bringing Caravaggio and Van Dyke paintings to life. Also, in her long awaited return to the small screen, art expert, hermit and consecrated virgin, Sister Wendy Beckett enthuses Quest in her passion for the creative force behind the canvas.

Sooner of later, Quest must approach the ‘Art Establishment’. With a reputation for being inaccessible and exclusive, art fixtures like the Turner Prize polarise the public, and with this in mind, Quest seeks to bust a few myths. From this year’s Turner Prize candidates to the Tate Modern contemporary art collection, art does not get much more contemporary than this. It’s up to Tate Modern curator Vicente Todoli to win Quest round over the merits of the modern movement.

One group unlikely to be convinced is the next stop on the QUEST odyssey - the Stuckists. Implacably opposed to anything “establishment”, with the Turner Prize top of their hit list, their argument is heartfelt. Who will have the deciding point of view?

Famed sculptor Grayson Perry, himself a Turner Prize winner in 2003, chats to Quest and provides some middle ground. The self-styled ‘Transvestite potter from Essex’ proves an engaging and authoritative guide through the maelstrom of modern art.

Last stop on the Quest for art is a corner of rural England, to meet a man who arguably understands our relationship with art better than anyone. Former forger John Myatt has copied the biggest and best names in the art world. Having been to prison, he has now rehabilitated himself and runs a highly successful business creating ‘Genuine Fakes’!

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