The end of the reality TV series Work of Art has New York Magazine critic rationalizing his appearance on the show–at least to himself:
Did I “win” or “lose” by being on the program? Art and TV have always been bad bedfellows; they never get one another. If watching this show sometimes made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I can only imagine what it did to the hairs on the back of the collective neck. Yet I honestly never thought of saying no to this show. I loved doing it; it changed the way I think — somewhat, anyway. I wanted to see if art criticism was porous and supple enough to actually exist on a different stage.
And it did. I’m not referring to all the strangers who stopped me and said, “Why’d you eliminate Trong?” (or one of the other artists). In the middle of the street — or, once, in the Dallas airport — I’d be having animated conversations about art and art criticism. That confirmed my suspicion that many people have inner critics dying to get out. But the good I’m thinking of wasn’t about me, and it didn’t happen on the street or even TV. It happened here in these recaps. And not in my summaries of each episode. It happened in the tens of thousands of words that all of you wrote in the comment sections at the bottom of the recaps. An accidental art criticism sprang up, practiced in a new place, in a new way, on a fairly high level. Together we were crumbs and butter of a mysterious madeleine. The delivery mechanism of art criticism seemed to turn itself inside out; instead of one voice speaking to many, there were many voices speaking to one another. Coherently. All these voices became ghosts in criticism’s machine. It was a criticism of unfolding process, not dictums and law – a criticism of intimacy that pulsed with a kind of phosphorescent grandeur.
Life Breaks Through (New York Magazine)