June 11, 2010

Work of Art

So, did anyone catch the new Bravo series, "Work of Art"?  If you didn't, think "Project Runway", only with artists instead of fashion designers.

And really, the show is set up almost exactly the same.  There's a host, China Chow, who's also a judge.  The panel of three judges consists of industry critics and gallery owners.  There's even a Tim Gunn-esque "mentor" for the artists, Simon du Pury, who's an art auctioneer.  The winner of the show gets a solo exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and $100,000, furnished by Prismacolor.  (I WISH!).

I really loved the show, but I have to say I wasn't surprised by any of the artists.  By that I mean, they had all the swagger and pretention that I expected.  It's funny to me how many artists are very conformist in their non-conformity.  I think it takes more guts as an artist to dress like I do - in 10 year-old t-shirts from Target and jeans from Fleet Farm.  But I digress.

It always amazes me how fast some artists paint.  I suppose if you've been painting for 20 years, that paintbrush is just an extension of your arm (I'm a collage artist, so painting is very foreign to me).  Just like on "Project Runway" (hereafter abbreviated as "Proj Run"), the artists only had a day and a half to complete their project, which was a portrait of one of their fellow artists.  I was a little skeptical of this:  some of them were working in oils; don't they take forever to dry?  Would an oil painting really be ready to hang after 16 hours?!?  Hmm....

Of course, some artists' portraits were "shocking" for the sake of being shocking.  There was one artist, Judith, who painted an abstract of her subject and used the "p-word" liberally in the piece.  Really?  Is this really shocking anymore, or is it just kinda lame?  To me, if you have to resort to using supposedly "shocking" images or text in your work, you're covering.  Another drew her subject naked, even though the subject didn't pose that way for the painter.  That's sorta creepy.  That being said, the paintings were technically good.

Which brings me to my other point:  artists - let's support each other, not crap all over each other's work!  I know I just sort of ripped on Judith there, but other than that, don't be that person that everyone hates.  On this show, her name is Nao.  Went she first walked in the gallery where everyone's art was hanging, she actually went around the room and by each piece said stuff like, "Boring!", "No talent!", "Amateurish!", etc.  Okay, if you're going to do that to others' work, expect people to lash out at yours.  Unless you're the next Picasso, keep your mouth shut.  And even then, be careful.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the show pans out.  I have a feeling that the person who everyone least expects to win will go home a lot richer (his name is Erik - check back in about 2 1/2 months to see if I'm right!).  And I also have a feeling that if there's a Season 2, there are going to be a LOT more entries to be a contestant.   A hundred grand is a LOT of money!

1 comment:

  1. I DID watch that show!! I just don't remember what day it was on, so I've probably missed Episode 2 by now. I didn't like what the judges said about the more abstract paintings-- I disagee with their statement about "if I didn't know it was a portrait, I wouldn't think it was one." No one said a portrait had to show THE PERSON'S image. I didn't notice about Nao's being critical of everyone else's work; I'll have to watch for that next time. What I did like about her was that she stood up for her work, and said if the judges didn't understand what she was trying to say, that's not her problem-- good for her! Art is open to the viewer's interpretation, after all.
    I also didn't like the judges telling Erik that he couldn't (or shouldn't) do certain things, as if to tell him "you're not trained as an artist, so sadly, you don't know any better" and pat his head... It would be nice if he DID win!!