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BBC partners with the Victoria & Albert Museum for Modern Masters exhibition


BBC One and the V&A are collaborating to offer a free exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The exhibition will enable the public to learn more about Warhol, Matisse, Picasso and Dali, who feature in a major new BBC One multi-platform television series – Modern Masters.

The programme will broadcast in May, fronted by new presenter and arts writer Alastair Sooke. The four-part series traces the lives of Warhol, Matisse, Picasso and Dali on television and online through

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London will launch an exhibition, Modern Masters – Warhol, Matisse, Picasso and Dali, to accompany the television series, which will run from 1 May to 23 June, allowing the public to continue their learning journey.

Millionaires in their own lifetimes, Warhol, Matisse, Picasso and Dali were embraced by the mainstream and each touched aspects of modern culture in a unique way.

The BBC One series looks in depth at each artist and explores why these modern masters deserve their fame and how their legacy continues to pervade our culture and everyday lives. The website,, will feature a virtual exhibition of the modern masters, curated by presenter Alastair Sooke, plus extensive links and resources about art and 10 specially authored walking tours (Walks of Art) in cities around Britain for viewers who wish to learn more about the buildings and landmarks inspired by the great artists.

Each artist embraced the medium of print to reach a mass audience. In the V&A’s accompanying exhibition, works have been drawn from the collection to illustrate these 20th-century masters’ engagement with the medium, representing one of the most creative periods in the history of western art.

Both celebrated and less familiar prints in a range of techniques are included, spanning a 75-year period that saw the birth of the modern age.

Mark Bell, BBC Commissioning Editor, Arts, commented: "We are tremendously excited to be launching a major series about modern art in the heart of the BBC ONE schedule.

“The series is an example of how the BBC can make a real difference, enabling licence fee payers to access a wealth of arts content on television, online and now, through our partnership with the V&A, in an exhibition.”

Mark Jones, Director of the V&A, said, “We are very pleased that we are able to collaborate in this way. Partnering with the BBC means that these works by modern masters in our collection can be seen on a number of platforms, by an even broader audience.”

The partnership between BBC One and the Victoria & Albert Museum is part of the BBC’s commitment to arts and culture, which includes a wide range of initiatives aimed at supporting cultural Britain and better serving the public.

Modern Masters is a 4x60-minute IWC Media production for the BBC. The programme was commissioned for Jay Hunt by Commissioning Editor of Arts, Mark Bell, working alongside executive producer Franny Moyle for IWC Media (a part of the RDF Media Group).
Notes to Editors

Over 90 per cent of the arts programming found on all public service channels is broadcast by the BBC. Last year, the BBC broadcast 1,733 hours [Source: Annual Report 08/09].

In March 2010, the BBC outlined its Strategy Review, which placed quality at the forefront of the corporation. One of the five key editorial priorities outlined in this review is: Inspiring knowledge, music and culture: Enriching people’s lives – bringing knowledge, music and culture to new minds, eyes and ears’. Defining cultural output on the BBC will result in a stronger, combined contribution to arts, music, culture and knowledge.

The Strategy Review encourages partnerships with those museums, libraries and galleries who have both complementary content and a shared set of public purposes - opening up the riches of their archives and highlighting opportunities for the public to discover and learn.

Currently The BBC has partnerships with organisations which include the UK Public Library Sector, the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Scottish Arts Council and the Manchester International Festival, The Arts Council, the Public Catalogue Foundation.


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