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The ancient power of the arts -- to enthrall and disturb audiences -- is at the heart of Culture Shock, an innovative and evocative four-part documentary series premiering on PBS Wednesdays, January 26 and February 2, 2000 ,at 9 p.m. (check local listings).
Culture Shock tells the stories of cultural controversy in now-classic works of art -- in literature, painting, film, and music -- and explores the relevance of these masterpieces today. The series examines the scandal surrounding Manet's famous 1865 painting of a nude in The Shock of the Nude: Manet's Olympia; the "subversive nature" of 1920s jazz in The Devil's Music: 1920s Jazz; the Production Code era of Hollywood movies in Hollywood Censored: Movies, Morality & the Production Code; and the century-old conflicts surrounding Mark Twain's novel in Born to Trouble: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Individually and collectively, the films explore a host of important questions about the arts and society: Who decides what constitutes good art? Should the arts ever be censored? How do historical arts controversies fit into current debates about censorship? What does freedom of expression really mean in a democracy?
Culture Shock tells the fascinating stories of classic works that have been controversial and charts their journeys from infamy to acclaim -- and sometimes back again. The films themselves are stylistically inventive, mixing historical and cinema verité material, and performance, fictional, and documentary scenes. Each program probes its subjects deeply to reveal what arts conflicts tell us about the underlying tensions and transformations in society at large that often trigger arts conflicts.
Culture Shock is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston. Executive producer is Jill Janows.
Major funding for the Culture Shock television production and outreach was provided by the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and public television viewers. Additional funding was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; The Herb Alpert Foundation; The Nathan Cummings Foundation; The Albert A. List Foundation, Inc.; The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; The Sheldon H. Solow Foundation; The Catherine and Paul Buttenwieser Foundation; and The George Gund Foundation.
Funding for the Culture Shock Web site was provided by The Ford Foundation and PBS.
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