Bestinau got that-
But it turns out that some people – especially artists – want to portray themselves. We start with Antony Gormley admiring a beautiful little figure known as Spong Man, carved to sit on an Anglo-Saxon urn. I had never seen this before and was interested to know a lot more about it. But here comes Gormley.
“What interests ME about this…” he began, before we were told about Gormley’s own work. The artist claimed that “the whole point of making something is to interact with someone they will never meet, someone who might live on another continent, maybe live in another millennia.” Did the unknown Spong Man sculptor really think about this? Or is Gormley just speaking for himself?
This is not an isolated case, as the program consistently shows us the work of contemporary artists rather than focusing on the artifacts chosen and the time in which they were created. A pity, because the idea is fine and the scientists have a lot of knowledge to impart. Some of the works were new to me, while the program revived the most famous, such as author Maria Dahvana Headley reading from her exciting translation of Beowulf.
We skip the Tudors because the invited artist – Jeremy Deller – refused to touch the “terrible” Henry VIII. Art That Made Us seems to have transferred an awful lot of power to today’s artists.