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Sister Wendy's American Collection Box Set
Sister Wendy's American Collection Box Set
Actors: Sister Wendy, Wendy Beckett
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
NR     2001     6hr 0min

"Museums, like theaters and libraries, are a means to freedom. Here, we can move out of our personal anxieties and disappointments into the vast and stable world of human creativity." ?Sister Wendy Beckett Sister Wendy Bec...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sister Wendy, Wendy Beckett
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Art & Artists, Educational, Documentary
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/20/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 6hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Sister Wendy's passion for art ignites it in others
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My local PBS station had a Sister Wendy "marathon" on New Year's Day, showing the entire American Collection; I was both captivated and inspired. Had museums been open, I would have dashed to San Francisco to take in some art. Also, the program made me want to visit museums she toured.In an interview with Bill Moyers (also available on video) that followed the American Collection, Oxford-educated Sister Wendy emphasized that her mission is to help people embrace art by making it accessible. (Even Moyers admitted to being intimidated by the thought that he might not evaluate a work of art correctly,i.e., according to how art critics see it.)Sister Wendy mentions in the Moyers interview that she possesses an immense library of scholarly works on art. She feels her in-depth study of these books justifies her definite opinions about art. Whether you agree or disagree with Sister Wendy's assessment of what a work of art is expressing, you won't be able to deny that her passion is inspiring.Sister Wendy's credibility was, for me, increased when Moyers asked her what she thought of Andres Serrano's "Piss-Christ," a work in which a replica of Christ was immersed in a container of urine. She didn't dismiss the work as something created merely to shock, rather she thought the artist meant to represent the irreverence with which most people treat Christ and his teachings. She qualified her judgment by stating that she considered it a rather mediocre work because it didn't challenge the viewer: people had an immediate and visceral reaction that didn't require consideration or time to form.Finally, in a society that seemingly hasn't moved beyond an adolescent attitude toward sex, Sister Wendy's perspective that human sexuality is a gift from God and an aspect of ourselves to be celebrated is refreshing."
Thank You, Sister Wendy!!
Bucky | Haunted Mansion, The Magic Kingdom | 08/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sister Wendy Beckett has done for art appreciation and art history what the late Carl Sagan did for the science of astronomy: she has taken a subject that most people would like to know more about, but fear is beyond their ability to understand, and made it accessible and entertaining. She has wrested art from the hands of intellectuals and elitists and given it back to the people, to whom it has always rightfully belonged. Some people appear to resent this. The rest of us should stand up and cheer.

In this charming series, Sister Wendy visits six of the United States' most renowned art museums and shares with her viewers some of their masterpieces. Her opinions, sometimes whimsical, sometimes wistful and sometimes reverent, are delivered with great passion and enthusiasm. This open love of her subject matter is infectious and draws the viewer to her and to the art works she so clearly loves. This is what makes her so effective as a guide and teacher.

Sister Wendy also makes a wonderfully evocative use of language, at one point, during a discussion of Grant Wood's "American Gothic" she describes the woman's hair as having been "...scraped back in a bun." This captured the woman's hairstyle with such economy and vividness that I, in my mind's eye, could see her combing her hair into a repressed little bun. Except for that one tendril, which Sister Wendy also points out to her viewers.

Like all those who view a work of art, Sister Wendy brings her own, unique perspective to each work she has chosen to discuss. Nowhere is this more powerfully shown than in her discussion of the Kinbell's "An Exiled Emperor on Okinoshima." While most people would perceive the solitary figure on the Japanese screen as lonely and isolated, Sister Wendy, who spends most of her time alone in silent contemplation and prayer, at first sees a kindred spirit. This leads her to identify with the Emperor in ways most people would never dream of and she shares her unique perspective with us. And we are richer, not just for seeing the screen and hearing her interpretation, but also for having been given this tiny scrap of insight into a life most of us can't even imagine.

Through her books and television series, Sister Wendy has given us something she seems to greatly admire about the United States: Freedom. The freedom to look at a work of art and interpret and enjoy it through our own particular lens, our own perspective. By showing and telling us how she understands and appreciates art, Sister Wendy invites us to take the liberty to do likewise.

Thank you, Sister Wendy!
Smart enough to know | Canada | 05/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Any half-decent or better University Art History class is sure to appreciate the perspectives Sister Wendy brings to these discs. Sister Wendy does a brillant job, as always, with the American Collection! You will be a better person for watching and understanding this collection."
G. A SENDEROFF | North Miami Beach, FL | 03/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you can get past the habit and listen, you have a really interesting and respectful open-minded art critic who is a nun, but we all look past that part! Wendy Beckett is an art scholar and I trust her implicitly. Her views are not only psychologically and philosophically enchanting but mesmerizing as well as intriguing. Looking at her open-mindedness to art and her appreciation of fine art is absolutely delightful and entertaining!

As an art aficionado who has spent time in most of these museums, she really posits true and genuine opinions and interpretations based on her own thoughts, without imposing her own private religiousity on you!

Bravo, sister Wendy!

[...]! It is a great box set! And no, she is NOT boring as other reviewers who just don't appreciate fine art have reviewed her with one star!"