6/9/10: Obligatory Work of Art post.

June 9, 2010 at 11:29 am (art)

Yes, I know about the new Bravo reality TV show, Work of Art. No, I don’t intend on watching it.

Yes, I’ve read tons of gossip about it; no, I don’t think I’ll read too much more (well, I will peek, I admit that much).

Yes, I agree that if done right, a show like this might actually help bring in some interesting new people to the art world. No, I don’t think that this is the show that will do it. I’ve seen the preview and it looks like your typical reality television fare; more about who the bitch is and what the contestants look like than getting people psyched about looking at or making art.

Yes, I agree that it would be totally awesome to see Judith Braun win the whole thing, because she’s a good artist and she’s been around for a while and all that stuff that’s true and nice to say and also slightly patronizing(*). It would also be really awesome to see Sarah Jessica Parker dragged over sandpaper, dropped in bleach, and then set on fire, but I don’t think either Parker’s gruesome death or Braun’s triumphant win are realistically going to happen.

No, I don’t think this show is going to make a dent in the public psyche at all; I think it will come and go and no one will be talking about it in a few weeks. And yes, I’m open to the idea that I’m probably wrong, and that soon the foundation classes of my school will be filled with kids who only want to polish their skills enough to compete on a reality tv show. And that the sad part about this is that it will be the same kids who will graduate $100k in debt and shocked to find out that being an artist has a lot more to do with staring at blank sheets of paper and wondering how you’re going to pay this month’s bills than with wearing cool black clothes and talking in soundbites; and will never find out that it’s really all the time spent alone, thinking, and challenging yourself that makes it all worthwhile.

But I really hope I’m wrong.

*I actually prefer the work of Peregrine Honig, which I’ve known and admired for several years (especially her Landfall Press bruised pin up girl stuff – go Landfall!). But I think her work (with its illustrative quality and dark sense of humor) is exactly the kind of thing that gets misrepresented, or at least poorly represented, in a show like this. So for her own sake, I hope she’s gone from the show early, shakes off the experience, and then comes back to the world with some more good work and this whole reality TV show crap far behind her.


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