Salon.com gives Glen Helfland a chance to explain why the art world hates Bravo’s Work of Art reality show:
“Work of Art” attempts to offer an intimate view of the place where artistic creation happens, but it doesn’t quite pull that off, in part because it sticks faithfully to the reality TV structure. Like other shows in the genre, the producers make contestants jump through hoops, in accelerated time frames, to make stuff — a format that has very little to do with real-world creative activities. Artists are as likely to make a portrait in nine hours as a chef combining Cheetos and balsamic is likely to make a great meal. In episode 3, the contestants created book covers, a challenge that ignores the distinctions between fine and commercial art. It’s no wonder the results weren’t very good.
That said, the show does seem to be getting better, and it’s unclear what, exactly, the show’s harshest critics are so worried about. That “Work of Art” will create the unfounded expectation that artists can produce at the snap of a finger? Or that they might actually appreciate winning that grand prize and getting some air time? Or are they just worried that the “mysteries” of the art world will be exposed to middle America?
It’s worth clicking through just to read the somewhat tortured attempt to present the performance artist among the group as executing her own “narrative experiment” when, of course, reality TV itself is a narrative experiment of long standing.
Why the Art World Hates “Work of Art” (Salon.com)