This Is Modern Art was a six-part TV series written and presented by the English art critic Matthew Collings. It was broadcast in 1998 on Channel 4. At the time the head of Channel 4 was Michael Jackson. The commissioning editor was Janey Walker. Both had worked with Collings on the BBC2 arts magazine program The Late Show.
The series won several awards including a BAFTA. It became popular both because of its sometimes jokey and sometimes thoughtful explanations of the work and attitude of a new wave of artists that had recently been publicized in the British mass media, and because of its author's witty and irreverent, though clearly highly informed, commentary style. Collings went on to create several more TV series and programmes for Channel 4, including Impressionism Revenge of The Nice, Self Portraits The Me Generations and This Is Civilisation.
Shortlists Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol for the "genius" category. Each of them in his own way changed the definition of what Modern art is, says Collins: "With Picasso it was ugliness instead of beauty. With Pollock it was American instead of European. With Warhol it was irony instead of tortured emotion." This is a good example of Collings' clear and pithy style.