Work of Art

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist is a strange reality show on Bravo.  There are the formulaic, requisite challenges and weekly eliminations.  These challenges force would-be artists to create works in only a few hours.  The pieces are exhibited to the judges and other members of the public.  The ultimate winner gets a show in Brooklyn and $100,000.

Who knew speed was a criteria for “greatness”?  The art historian in me shudders, equally repulsed and intrigued with this oddball premise.  Last night the visiting guest artist was Andres Serrano of Piss Christ fame.  How much did it cost to get dealers and curators to buy into this concept? 

Producing under pressure to answer challenges such as “design a book cover” or “create a shocking piece of art” might not be the smartest way to find people who can actually sustain themselves as working artists and create art with integrity and intelligence, but then again, I don’t pitch ideas for reality TV.  I just explain and interpret the art after it’s been made (usually decades after).  I guess now when I address contemporary art I have to mention Work of Art as a cultural moment revealing how art functions as entertainment.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sheryl
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 18:25:09

    I guess Art has lost its position as Religion when Reality TV picks it up. We consume it because that is what this species does – and I must guiltily say I feel somewhat satisfied after an hour. Similar to a good Art History class. Can you imagine watching one work of art be created over hours and hours – ha like Andy Warhol watching people sleep. Or how many new drips would go on a Pollack each week for 10 weeks. Only the artist thinks that is interesting, and even I know how boring it would be to watch me do a painting start to finish. I think we have to separate watching art and looking at art. Looking is much more satisfying.

    Reply

    • Sandra
      Sep 16, 2010 @ 02:39:53

      Ah, but looking isn’t always the same as seeing, which requires observational skills that are learned. Otherwise we look and absorb, but we don’t necessarily compare, question, and think in the deeper sense.

      Reply

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