Monday, July 20, 2009

Art Goes Reality T.V., Head for the Hills...

Photo by Todd Heisler, from the New York Times (full article here:

Over the last year or two I have read in the news several times about proposed reality t.v. shows about art. About a year ago I heard about a reality show that was being proposed to Bravo for just such a thing. It was to be produced by Sarah Jessica Parker and be in the vein of "Top Chef" or "Project Runway." I even talked about it at the end of my Art Appreciation courses and History of Modern Art courses to see what my students thought of such a debacle. Their reactions were often mixed, some saying it was an insult to the "real" art world, that nobody would watch it, and how on earth would they have challenges and such that are typical of reality show formats.

Well, imagine my shock, surprise, horror(?), when I popped open today's New York Times to see one of these proposed shows has been given a go and has begun there casting calls! The one proposed for Bravo and produced by Sarah Jessica Parker is apparently in process. They have been conducting their cast interviews in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago (how did I not hear about that??), and New York. They are going to pick thrteen finalists who will compete for: a gallery show, cash prize, and a national museum tour. I am very curious to see several things, namely: who are the judges for this show, who is sponsoring this show, and which galleries and museums are going to show the winner's works?

I am a huge supporter of the dissemination of information, the accessibility of art to people from every type of background, but, I do respect art as an institution with a deep and rich history. What scares me is whether or not this will be some crazy dumbed down version of garage sale kitty statues and velvet clown art, or will this be a return of art to the public, for those viewers both educated and average? In the end I do hope it is successful, but I hope it is more reminiscent of Keith Haring than it is of Survivor.

May inspiration and creativity be with you!

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