Thursday, May 27, 2010

Battle of the Brushes - Reality TV meets Art!

While I sat drinking coffee after a short nights sleep, the skies, clouds and water all turned a soft grey and rumblings of thunder cascaded over me as it started to pour rain. It was one of those mornings that make you want to stay in bed or on the couch with a remote and your loyal dog by your side. But my mind kept whirring over all the tasks in front of me so I did what any good, responsible retired person would do. I turned on the tv.

Several episodes of West Wing later I half heard a promo spot for a new tv show premiering on Bravo in June called, "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist."  What? A reality art show? Did I hear that right? I went to Bravo's website to find out more.

Well there it was. It is even produced by Sarah Jessica Parker's production company, Pretty Matches. After reading the contestant bio's I was surprised to find they are established artists vs those dreaming of it. Meaning they have already had solo shows at quality galleries, some with art already hanging in established museums. For some reason I couldn't find samples of their work on the website but it appears at first look Pretty Matches did a good job of picking a diverse and hopefully interesting group of contestants (as said from a been there, done that retired TV exec).

The judges are another matter. It is hard to tell from their bios exactly how it will work and my first impression is that there are too many contestants and too many judges but maybe since art is highly subjective they need a cross section of so called experts in the room or maybe they will be guiding them through the weekly competitions vs be involved in the entire series. We'll have to wait and see.

So what is it about these reality shows? I admit to watching a few. And I know they are cheap to produce and for some grow network ratings. But I would have thought by now they had passed their prime as uh, yup, I was one of the only ones still watching American Idol this season. I know, I know how could I??!! But I enjoy watching the "evolution" of talent and captured by the performance under pressure aspect. Take for example what took place last season on Idol when Adam Lambert seemingly from the second tier bench performed "Mad World" and blew everyone else out of the water. It just shows all of us what is possible when you believe in yourself, work hard and stretch your limits...oh yeah...and "pick the right song."

Well maybe this show will start people talking about art. Is it art? Who decides it is good? And the all to famous - if you can make art in a few hours it can't be any good (no one remembers it took fifteen years of practice to be so lucky - or better said, "the more I practice the luckier I get").  And I remember a line in the movie Mona Lisa Smiles when Julia Roberts takes her art history students to a museum to see a painting by a new artist, Jackson Pollack when she says, "you don't have to like it but you do have to consider it."

So don't forget to set your DVR's to record "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" on Bravo as it premieres June 9th and airs at 11PM!!??

And check out the links below to find out more about the show. There's even a virtual sketch pad! Java!

Link to Work of Art Website

Link to Work of Art Sketchpad

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