Art Diary

A Listening Eye: The Films of Mike Dibb

15 January 2021

While some museums are closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Apollo’s usual weekly pick of exhibitions will include shows at institutions that are currently open as well as digital projects providing virtual access to art and culture.

The influence of Mike Dibb on the genre of the television documentary is unparalleled. He remains best known for Ways of Seeing, the six-part BBC series he made with John Berger in 1972, but over the course of his long career he has directed dozens of films covering subjects across art, literature, music and politics; his biographical documentaries include portraits of Salvador Dalí, Miles Davis, Edward Said and David Hockney. With this online series, the Whitechapel Gallery is making more than 50 of Dibb’s films available to stream online. The programme runs from 8 January–26 March, with several new films released each week, arranged into three sections entitled ‘The Play of Ideas’, ‘The Arts of Improvisation’, and ‘Conversation Pieces’. Find out more from the Whitechapel Gallery’s website.

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David Hockney drawing Celia Birtwell for Seeing Through Drawing (1976).

David Hockney drawing Celia Birtwell for Seeing Through Drawing (1977–78). Courtesy Mike Dibb

Mike Dibb in Port of Spain, Trinidad, filming with C.L.R. James (centre) and a Trinidadian film crew for Beyond a Boundary (1976). Courtesy Mike Dibb

The Miles Davis Story (2001), dir. Mike Dibb

Detail from poster of The Miles Davis Story (2001), dir. Mike Dibb