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artscenetoday's take on bravo's latest reality tv show
Work of Art Logo.jpg  


           THE BAD

                   THE UGLY

It's a new world order where everyone seeks their 15 minutes of fame - even fine artists.  As part of the art scene today we can't neglect covering a show like Bravo's "Work of Art - The Next Great Artist."  No matter how commercial or disdainful you may perceive it, there's certainly something to be learned from it and so it can be useful to artists.

how it works:  In each episode of "Work of Art" contestants are faced with the challenge of creating unique pieces in a variety of media such as painting, sculpture, photography, collage and industrial design. The weekly assignments will challenge the artists' to push the limits of their technical skills and creative boundaries. Completed works of art will be appraised by a panel of top art world figures alongside a new celebrated guest judge every week. Through a gallery showing at the end of each challenge, these industry select dictate which artists have successfully mastered the subject matter and creation of their piece, as well as whose concept leaves the greatest impact.


the good

Anything that sheds light on the artworld and makes it part of the water cooler scene the next day can't be all bad, right?  People get to see that inspiration isn't always readily available to artists and so may go a long way to eradicating the "Oh, I can do that" attitude so pervasive in modern society.  With everyone having a camera at the ready and photoshop turning everyone into an art director anything that elevates the fine art profession wins points. 

the bad

Well, a lot of things get glossed over with the reality show format I hate so much...boring repetition, snippets of drama to come, the dreadful close-ups of eye rolls, snarky looks and trite head shaking. 
I would love to see more time on the challenges/struggles and inspiration of the artists, really get inside their heads.  Have them talk more about what keeps them in the art world, how they came to work in their respective areas, how they chose their medium.
There's also a missed opportunity to actually learn something about art - the different styles, schools and artists who paved the way so that our young gladiators here can do what they do.  I don't mean make it boring in a "ok get your books out" way.  But in an exciting, cross-referencing classic works way.  Let's face it, anyone who's watching this show on an ongoing basis IS interested in art, wouldn't you say??  So why not have references to works of artists from the past and actually SHOW them, this is TV - a VISUAL medium.
And while we're on the subject, I like watching pretty people and nice clothing as much as the next broad...but am I the only one a bit bothered by the cross pollination of runway model outfits on the host and judges?? (producers of "Project Runway produce this show as well)
Anyway, found an interesting clip of one of the contestants talking about singing for your supper as an artist. 

the ugly

Oh, the dark side of the art world.  The show proves that the art world after all is a business and like most professions is filled with sleazy people, political intrigue and big egos.

I guess all reality shows rely on drama and pettiness and gossip to keep audiences coming back for more.  Was I expecting too much to see our profession rise above?  Could we not have the back-stabbing, the silly arguments, the triviality of most of these shows?

I suppose not, if one wants people to keep coming back for more and to garner ratings for those big-time advertisers to continue plunking down big bucks.  Hard not to notice all the in-show branding - one challenge actually took the artists to a car showroom and a ride in their premiere car (we don't get their money so we won't say which).

In the end, it's all a necessary evil. Coming from the world of advertising, it's the only way it will survive on TV other than on PBS.  It so totally exemplifies Andy Warhol's belief that everyone gets 15 minute of fame.  In this case it's actually 1 hr per week (minus commercials and snarky reaction shots) for a 13-week run. But, hey, I wouldn't miss it!

check out the Bravo site...Bravo Work of Art.jpg

 Click here to check out episodes

check out the preview clip...


And the winner is...Abdi!

Work of Art Winner-Abdi


Stay Tuned for Season 2

Casting has been done. The challenges are under way.  Our very own Michelle Aragon was down by Tribeca Park when challenge #8 had the artists competing to see who could make the most money selling artwork.  Not the big, interesting art seen on most of the episodes but quick, quirky "I can sell this on the cheap" art.  So look for that episode and see if you spot her.