Thursday, June 10, 2010

New reality show is like Survivor for artists

I just finished watching the premiere episode of a new reality show called Work of Art: America's Next Great Artist. It's sort of like a mix of Survivor and Project Runway.

Tonight's challenge was to create a portrait of another competitor which showed the person's inner self, not just what one sees on the surface.

Some of the artists didn't include any image of the portrait subject at all, explaining with some arteeste-speak: "I wanted to capture my
impression of the essence of the person."

Hmm. Uh-huh.

I guess you'd need to see the show, but I got the feeling that the "abstract" or performance artists (at least those in this program) weren't confident in their ability to render a likeness of their subject, so they turned to the "ethereal" impression of the essence route. [If an architect doesn't know how to properly design a building that won't fall down, can he just capture the
essence of a safe building?!? See my earlier post, "Are Artists Lazy Airheads?"]

After that, the artists have the nerve to look down their noses at the amateur artist who did try to create a portrait. At least his portrait had a human image in it. It may not have been a great
likeness, but it was human.

It wasn't just some blue sky/leaves (although Amanda's painting was beautiful for a notecard and I would love to own her art) or a series of dots connected by lines that another artist created.

I thought Nao's dot artwork was intriguing - despite myself, but I agreed with the art critic that there is no 'portrait' in it. The art critic said maybe there is a portrait in it in the artist's mind, but there's no portrait or understanding of the existence of a portrait in it by any viewer. The dots and lines were representative of the pattern that Nao saw Miles (another competitor) make around the workspace.

I noticed that the artists that were unable (or maybe just unwilling) to try to put any human form in their works were the among the least able to accept criticism.

Will I follow the series? I'm not a big fan of "reality" TV in general, because I don't believe that most of them aren't largely scripted. However, I do plan to watch
Work of Art.

Although some of the competitors are fairly unlikable (and I think they cast them for this purpose), there are enough artists on the show that I do care about finding out how they fare, and the works of art they create will be interesting to see.

The season will continue on Wednesdays at 10 pm on Bravo. Compared to many things on TV these days, this program is pretty good.

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