Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Reality TV and Art?

So, on the eve of the newest art world reality tv show, "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" (which premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, June 9th on Bravo), I thought I would post a few thoughts on the topic. I know I had been following this project for quite a long time now and am anxiously awaiting its initial episode. Do I expect it to be great? Absolutely not. Do I hope it is? Of course. What I expect will take place will be some wonderful train wreck with perhaps some insightful moments. But I shall let the series play itself out and I will be sure to DVR it. This is certainly not the first of the art reality shows. Anyone remember, "Artstar", the Jefferey Deitch project/show? If not, I fully understand why. I have yet to meet anyone who actually did see an episode. More than likely due to its extremely limited availability on some obscure HD channel. I have even spent hours searching for episodes online, all to no avail. Then there is the BBC's, "School of Saatchi" show. This one is new to me. But I did manage to download the first episode. I shall check it out tonight. But then again, it is quite difficult to track down online. You would think in the age of mass communications and digital streaming, being able to watch a show online would not be so hard, even if shown overseas. Region blocking really pisses me off!

So, I would only guess that most of our readers too are interested in seeing what will take place with this take on the Art world reality show. Hearing the following discussion from Mediaweek with the staff of the show doesn't quite help raise my expectations. Then again, perhaps that is what we all need, low expectations. Don't we all seem to have enough of that these days though? I will be sure to say this, any and all preconceived thoughts on the show have nothing to do with the artists, critics, etc. involved but more on the way in which the show appears to be set up. I may very will be wrong. We shall soon see. My concern is that the show expects or slants to search out, or crown only the talented multi-disciplinary artists. While this is becoming more common in the art world, it is in no way a good measure of an artists talent or validity. A great painter may not be in any way a good performance artists. And a great sculptor may simply make a poor painter. Let's hope the show does not go down this path as is the typical play book for other similar reality shows like, Project Runway or Top Chef. Well, that is it for now. But if you want some of the run down on the contestants, check out Art Fag City's post here. You know what I will be watching tomorrow night.


19 Responses to “Reality TV and Art?”

Scott said...
June 10, 2010 at 12:46 AM

Well, I did just finish watching the inaugural episode. While I have never been a fan of the format of voting a person off after only one project, it is the standard model they decided to follow. Aside from that, I was a bit upset that they (as expected) went with the approach that does appear to be looking for a well rounded/multi disciplinarian artist rather than an artist that may very well be specialized. While I did not disagree with their selections, I was left wondering, of all the abstract painters I know, how would ANY of them have faired in a portrait challenge and still remain true to their process and vision? How would an artist like Anish Kapoor or Richard Tuttle have faired? Just some food for thought...


Jimmy said...
June 10, 2010 at 11:51 AM

GK and I were setting here wondering what you thought about this show and.. ta da, here it is!

I am going to write a blog post also, on Round Table Talking, and I hope it's OK to quote from some of the very good points you make.


LesleySW said...
June 11, 2010 at 10:50 PM

I kind of liked it. I don't have a strong background in art or know a lot about what is truly good or not good. I only know what I like. And I thought some of the ones they liked were fantastic. And I didn't like the ones they didn't like either. Maybe I'm not very smart or creative but I thought the show was fun!


Anonymous said...
June 16, 2010 at 2:30 PM

i look forward to more episodes. their "contestant" selections run the gamut of styles but i want to see their substances too. it's also fun to see critiques cut down to be tv friendly. as a fan of top-chef i wish i could see the entire deliberation over whos chillean sea bass sucked the worse - now i want to see experts wax poetic about digital photography vs. photo appropriation.


Liriodendron said...
June 21, 2010 at 12:39 AM

I hope they make the challenges hard, and then the good artists will surely rise to the occasion...it doesn't need to be your specialty for you to show your sense of style and basic skills.
I agreed with the judges send homes easily....but probably would have given the win to Abdi both times....I thought his portrait was beautiful....loved looking at that red.

The funniest things so far have been the way the frenchie mentor dude spits his words out, the "Proud Pussy" title, and the winner doof raising his hand to tell the judges he thought someone elses work was boring....oh...yeah...can't forget the concret buttholes.....oy!


Scott said...
June 21, 2010 at 1:39 AM

I must say that I did not agree with Trong being sent home. His was not the strongest piece but certainly not the worst. In fact that crappy tv excavation piece that they considered one of the top 3 was terrible. Aside from being aesthetically dull I felt that it required her to explain to you what all was buried inside it for it to have any substance at all. I don't want to have to read a description of the piece to be able to enjoy it. And really, that mess of wires the older lady presented should have been in the bottom two. Trong worst mistake was that he was apparently to art world referential. Seriously? I think you could have viewed his piece, and still got the gist of it whether or not you understood his abbreviation.

While I will continue watching the series. I must say that it really just feels like nothing more than some sort of undergrad art challenge. The show is called the Next Great Artist not the Next Great Multi-Disciplinarian Creative Type or even the Next Great Creative Problem Solver. The entire premise of the show is set to say the next great artist must in fact be multi-discipline in his practice. As seen in the fact they all had to make a "sculpture" in this past show. It seemed quite obvious, at least to me, who struggled the most with that challenge and that just happened to be, for the most part, those who typically work in 2D.

Just because someone can think of something that may be a great artistic idea does not mean they have the particular skills or knowledge to see it through. A great photographer may not be able to paint even the simplest painting and a great painter may be a terrible performance artist. And there is nothing to show that a great sculptor can equally be a great photographer. These are all singular skill sets and like many other fields of study, a great number of artists specialize. Some of course are more multi-disciplinary in their practice and therefore should do fairly well in such a show. But from the outset at least it is slanted in its expected goal and it is that alone that bothers me the most.

As for the entertainment value of the show. I like it. I think it is good that it should be able to give some people a glimpse into the working processes and thinking processes of artists of all types. Enough of that rant. I am somewhat fearing the next show. Is this is a nude photo shoot challenge? I do hope I am wrong...


Liriodendron said...
June 21, 2010 at 10:10 AM

My goodness!

The show should be titled.....

The Next Great Reality Show/for a brief period of time.

I don't think you are supposed to take the title that literally Scott....heh....anyway....bring on the nudes!


Scott said...
June 21, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Yeah, sorry about the rant. Late night sort of thing you know.


Anonymous said...
June 25, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Artist can mean (and in all probability should mean) many things, not just the static concept of one being only a painter or one being only a sculptor. Having them work outside of their comfort zone is an excellent choice on the part of the producers because even if they can't perhaps work in one medium as well as another, it shows how their MIND works and whether or not they are truly an artist in the full sense of the word. There hasn't really been a stress on quality of finished product per se, the show is more centered on concept and process. The problem with the limiting attitude above is that it shows a lack of acceptance for artists who may want to/can/should move into something else via this show (or other situation). The performance artist didn't seem to have a problem with making 2-d art, the photographer didn't have a problem with making a sculpture. Art is plastic and artists can (and should) adapt to whatever environment they're thrown into or whatever problem they need to solve. Otherwise, we're just a bunch of coddled babies who stubbornly hold on to some ideal that is long past, much like this week's oldest artist stubbornly rejecting the idea of making a piece of "assigned" fine art reach into the commercial world, something that many, many artists before her have done with great success. She decided to rebel, put out a personal protest piece and it got her off'd, most deservedly. I wonder how many of us from Indy would last to the end stubbornly holding on to "Hey, I'm a painter, not a sculptor" or some other limiting thought.

- Anony-nony


Liriodendron said...
June 25, 2010 at 9:21 PM

Art is plastic! I like that.....

A storm came thru and messed my signal up right when the gallery show started. I need to catch the show again.
Of course I loved the piece that won....the little line ladder made it look just like some of that very early 1960's album cover art that I like.
I also liked the swooshy Dracula water media painting....I wonder how it looked hanging in the show. It probably wasn't great for the book cover, but I thought it was beautiful as a painting.
I found it was highly amusing that Proud Pussy gave herself a hat to hold....rich, very rich!


Lori said...
June 29, 2010 at 4:00 PM

I can't get over a panel of art professionals who don't know who Tom Friedman is. And I'm not really that big of an art snob.


Anonymous said...
July 12, 2010 at 10:32 AM

I am certain Jerry Saltz knew who Tom Friedman was, I think he was just trying to give viewers some context with his question.


Liriodendron said...
July 12, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Something I posted on another forum....thought I throw it out here for discussion's sake.....

"I'd be fine if I never saw another shot of Miles sleeping or Jaclyns deep cleavage.....I'd like to see more of the artists in their creative process....paint being applied and then removed in disgust....ah-ha moments when something suddenly pleases....pieces of work taking dramatic changes in direction after consultation with the frenchie dude....I dunno.....I didn't care for the winners last week.....I would have purchased the Painturbation picture of the grid of new york if I was buying......just because something catches your eye and engages you at first....doesn't mean you want to spend hours, days, and years looking at it in your home after that......curiosity is one thing, appreciation of beauty is what I prefer..... Could it be some gallery owners are looking for paintings that make for a better show than a sale? Surely not....? "


Scott said...
July 12, 2010 at 1:05 PM

While I am a fan of cleavage as much as the next heterosexual male, I would agree Lirio. I do have a bit of a problem with her on one hand seeming to hate that men oggle her but she continues to wear nothing but low cut, revealing tops. And while I am intrigued by Miles I too can care less how his sleep issues.

While I think the issues of beauty in art is not to be dismissed, I quite love beauty in art, I do feel that in the context of the "Art World" this show is attempting to present, conceptual/contextual meaning is on an equal platform as aesthetics. I agree with their criticism of the "painturbation" piece. In short, I feel in the context of the assignment presented to the artists, the work fell considerably short.

Any bets on who will come out on top?


Liriodendron said...
July 12, 2010 at 2:33 PM

No....not yet.....most all of them left have their good moments....it seems sort of like a horse race....you never know when one is going to pull a bit ahead of the pack....

Well, I guess I'd bet on Abdi maybe....


Liriodendron said...
July 15, 2010 at 10:33 AM

"Art Pussy"


heh!

That seat thing freaked me out cause I figured all the patchwork metal on the back had some really sharp edges.....I would have tried to make a maze/pathway type of intallation......


Anonymous said...
August 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM

I felt the "winner" that week (the public art) was pretty weak. The pieces leading up to the largest shape were far too small to be in context with it, they seemed lost and silly next to the largest one. The big seat was good on concept, bad on execution. And every week, Miles shows himself to be more and more of a douche; typical art school hack, long on B.S. and "suffering" (enough with the "I"m OCD" already) and short on actual chops.

Just watch, he'll win because he makes compelling TV and the judges love him, regardless of the work.

I missed last week's (7/28) show... and they are no longer re-broadcasting on weekends, so if you miss it, it's gone.

-anony-nony


Liriodendron said...
August 1, 2010 at 6:35 PM

You didn't miss much....the show seems to get worse as the artists get fewer... and guess what! Another naked self portrait from whatever her name is....I wonder.... if she wasn't Ms Hot Bod, would we still get all these nudes from her?


OMG said...
March 3, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Love it!


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