Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Reality TV hits art world

I have recently started to watch the newest reality TV show from Bravo, "Work of Art; The Next Great Artist". Bravo brought together the production company of Sarah Jessica Parker, Pretty Matches, together with the Emmy-nominated Magical Elves who produces "Top Chef" and "Project Runway" This hour long contest pits artists against each other to produce artwork alla Project Runway. The format is almost exactly the same but instead of clothing these artists are supposed to be making works of art. The winner of the competition gets a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn  Museum and a cash award. The casting of course was picked to get some variety so you have the older fine artist, the whacked performance artist and everything in between.

I think I am enjoying  the show, but as an artist myself I find most of these artists missing the mark on the assignments.  What I see lacking in the work so far is heart. To me an artist is someone who visualizes what is in their heart and soul. There is no heart or soul in the artwork shown so far.

This last episode was really bad as the artist were to make "shocking art" but then Bravo censored the images on the broadcast, Huh? Why even have the episode if you are going to censor it. And besides, not a single piece was shocking. The winner of the competition was according to the judges,  the most shocking but really missed. His concept was wonderful but execution failed. It really felt as if  this episode was a promotion for photographer Andres Serrano. If you don't know his name you'll know one of his pieces. His most famous is "Piss Christ", a photograph of a plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of his own urine. This caused great controversy when first exhibited. The work was sold for $162,000 in December 1999 in London.
(An aside here, Andres Serrano needs to come to my exhibit in August and see where the cucifix is submerged!)

Anyway, I digress. The show is supposed to push the artist to create works of art on a budget and on a time schedule. The budget part shouldn't be a problem for most artists becasue, lets face it, artwork isn't selling like it used to. The time crunch is interesting but for an artist with an idea and who can work smart, it shouldn't be a problem.

My problem with the show is not only the censorship by Bravo TV, but the lack of any real substance in the artwork so far produced and also the serious, TV attitude of the judges. There comments are rehearsed and practiced and really are meant only to keep the TV audience watching not to be a constructive critique of the artwork. From Bravo's website, the judges are as follow:
Hosting this new series is art enthusiast China Chow. She will serve on the judging panel alongside art luminaries Bill Powers, a New York Gallery owner and literary art contributor, Jerry Saltz, current art critic for New York Magazine, and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, esteemed curator and owner of Salon94 gallery. World-renowned art auctioneer Simon de Pury adds his voice of experience as a mentor to the contestants.
So I am very curious to see how this reality show progresses and to see the impact, if any on the art world.

I am checking out Work of Art's website waiting for the application for the next season if there is one.
It might be time I put my camera where my mouth is, oh wait, I already do that.
August 14th, Censor This II, fetish and fantasy" opens at the ArtHouse Lounge in Harrisburg!

Looking to see you there!

Photograph above ©Bravo TV


Photographic Artist, Michael Barone said...

Interesting aside to my post, the artist Andres Serrano kept saying "Shit" while he was talking. His last exhibition was titled "Shit" but was in 2008.

Timaree said...

that's a bunch of crap about the censorship. what was the frickin point?

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the show, but I agree with you. Art is not art unless it involves the heart as well as the mind. It is more than just an intellectual exercise for the amusement of a television audience.

If there is another season of this show I would be the first one to encourage you, a real artist to apply to be a contestant. Let them eat real art!

Love Ya, Ro