The Bravo channel has decided to put out there a television show of competing artists in the spirit of many so called “reality” TV shows. “Let’s have selected artists compete and the winner gets $100,000 and a solo show at the Brooklyn Art Museum!” Wow.
I was hopeful. Really I was. I heard an interview with Sarah Jessica Parker producer of the program, who admittedly has little art experience but wanted to help promote new artists to a wider audience. Hallelujah. That’s a good thing indeed.
What I found after watching excerpts on line was something that was a derivative of MTV’s “Real World” with undergraduate or graduate art students that are still trying to find themselves. In addition, there is the “Survivor” aspect of the show. Artists go through various challenges and can get granted immunity from projects as well as folks get voted off the program. Such contestants are told they didn’t create a “real” work of art and disappear. What was very difficult to stomach was the delayed twenty something teen angst throughout the program. Putting personality extremes together is tiresome but does create so called authentic tension for the show (the sound track behind these arguments and scuffles I found very enlightening in terms of Bravo’s intent). Watching I wondered if “Work of Art” was really about art at all or just a drama fest?
What I did enjoy was parts of the art critiques. The judges clearly show insight regarding the work. Also when the artists are working on creating pieces and commented upon what they were doing, I was reminded of my undergraduate classes, something I’m sure that has educational value for a wider audience that doesn’t see that kind of environment on a regular basis. I just wish the show was more about art and less about fabricated theater. Did Sarah Jessica Parker watch any of PBS’s ART21 series? She could learn something.
Here is where you can find info about the show on Bravo:
I’ll warn you- after watching clips on Bravo’s website what I can tell you is all about the ads. Here is what you will see repeatedly: 1) singing fish, 2) an add that gives the impression that technology will destroy a rabbit, (which appears to be the last vestige of life in a desert wasteland), and 3), images of women swishing their hair about. And some how in remembering the ads… well, isn’t that TV’s point? Programming what programming?
Here is where you can read some various reviews of “Work of Art”: