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.Continue Reading
Bravo’s reality show about art is getting hammered from both sides of the cultural divide. The Los Angeles Times’s David Ng complains that not one of the contestants remarked upon the Audi sponsorship embedded in their latest challenge. Indeed, as Brent Bozell of the conservative Patriot Post somewhat unintentionally points out when he complains about the sexual nature of all the contestant’s attempts at creating shock art, Contemporary artists think sex–the most commonplace allusion in our porn-saturated media–is somehow shocking but they can’t recognize the overwhelming nature of corporate sponsorship in their lives and work. It’s much safer to “confront” prudishness than it is to upset the sponsors:
This isn’t the only work of “art” with that theme. There’s the man who titles his painting “My Tranny Porno Fantasy.” He explains what he’s going to paint: “I have this vision of myself as post-coital, post-bondage, post-(ejaculation) tranny with really bad makeup, an electrical cord around my neck and a pink wig.” He worries aloud, laughing out loud, that the semen isn’t visible enough on his painted face. His colleagues are shocked — and love it. “Ryan’s piece is just … a little … yeah,” one contestant laughs nervously, approvingly.Continue Reading
For all the art-loving Bravo addicts out there, Artinfo is doing exit interviews with Work of Art’s weekly losers. Like most recent Bravo shows, Work of Art is a big slice of guilty of pleasure, whose layers feature a touch of cultural zeitgeist, a healthy helping of pure spectacle and a thick coating of delicious despicability. In Artinfo’s Q&A, the lastest artist to get the boot (Trung Nygu-yen), challenges art worlders who are in a huff over the series to stop hating.
I know there are a lot of other artists and professionals and colleagues in the art world talking the show down and stuff, but if someone asked you to do the show, would you do it? It’s that kind of thing. Well, you have this great opportunity to experience this, why wouldn’t you do it? It’s the difference between living an active life and living a passive life. So I always go for the route of active.
Not sure that Nygu-yen’s gonna change anyone’s mind about the show with his active vs. passive argument. Perhaps a better tack to take is that it’s not like fame-mongering is something new for the art world, so why not just sit back and enjoy the show.