WTF – Reality TV for the Visual Arts by Norbert Marszalek


It’s finally here. A reality TV show featuring visual artists—Bravo’s Work of Art: The Search for the Next Great Artist (the show will air starting Wednesday, June 9th). If the competition between fashion designers, chefs, musicians, hair stylists, etc. is not enough visual artists will now get their due.

I’m not a big fan of these types of shows. If a person aspires to be a “serious” artist then participating in a reality type show is not the way to go. It seems cheap and actually kind of silly. It really comes down to being about a “TV show” and the “competition”—not about the craft.

Talent competition shows are not new. They have been around for many years. The difference is that today there is too much emphasis and media coverage put on today’s winners and competitors. It’s very difficult live down the fact that you were the “winner” of such and such. Again, I think it’s more about the “TV show” and “competition” than the actual craft or skill.

I have only seen previews of Work of Art but there is one thing I am curious to see. Supposedly these artist (based on all the other reality/competition shows) will be working within strict time limits. I think this would propose a hindrance to some—I have heard many an artist utter, “I can only work when the mood hits me”. Well, if you are one of the competitors the “mood” better “hit you” before the time limit bell goes off…if you want to win.

watch the preview