A Piece of Work: Watching Bravo’s Art Reality Show So You Don’t Have To — Looking Back on Season Two

Young Sun, Kymmia, Sara (Photo courtesy of Heidi Gutman/Bravo)

After spending the holiday season absentmindedly spilling eggnog on ourselves as we brooded over how we might pay apt tribute to the now completed second season of Bravo’s reality seminar on the state of the art world, we recalled our school days, and specifically the “lecture poems” we would occasionally compose. One penned such a poem by scribbling snippets of a professor’s biweekly homily in one’s notebook, and then, without changing the order of any of Professor So-and-So’s comments, excising words until what remained was well-wrought verse, rife with the feeling of the lesson, if not its drier facts. Read More

Work of Art

A Piece of Work: Watching Bravo’s Art Reality Show So You Don’t Have To – Episode 9

"Work of Art." (Bravo)

Paul Gauguin sailed all the way to French Polynesia to find his languidly exotic Tahitians. Swiss photographer Robert Frank drove straight across the U.S. to document the utter weirdness of The Americans. Diane Arbus plunged into the seedy underbelly of New York to bring back traces of its oddballs and freaks. Now, the art historians behind Bravo’s reality gem Work of Art: The Next Great Artist have brought this time-tested trope of artist-as-pioneering-colonizer/anthropologist straight to your TV set. On last week’s episode, Work of Art’s scholars argued that to be a truly great artist, one must leave the comfort of one’s Midtown West condo and vast studio space and venture out into the great unknown, to unveil the secrets of the “other” that inhabits the dangerous wilds beyond. Read More

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 9: Reality Goes Upstate


“Come for a day, stay for a week,” reads the tourism website of Cold Spring, New York. That’s a fine slogan, but it did not, alas, apply to our intrepid contestants on Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist this week, who were destined to hop a train from Grand Central for a brief, nervous jaunt up and down the town’s Main Street, during which time they marveled at how picturesque (read: creepy) everything was and how weird the locals were, before fleeing back to the (much less weird and creepy) world of reality television. Read More

Work of Art

A Piece of Work: Watching Bravo’s Art Reality Show So You Don’t Have To – Episode 8

"Work of Art." (David Giesbrecht/Bravo)

“Throughout history, artists have always faced a struggle with art versus commerce,” Work of Art: The Next Great Artist contestant mentor and real-world auctioneer extraordinaire Simon de Pury professed, with the sweeping arm gesture of a true scholar, in the latest episode of our favorite reality-TV survey on the Art World at Large. We eagerly nodded as we scribbled “history = art v. commerce” in our Trapper Keeper. If it’s on Bravo, it’s probably true. Read More

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 8: Take It Off, Take It All Off

Selling art to Simon de Pury, on Work of Art

“The following program may contain material that is unsuitable for young viewers. Parental discretion is advised,” read the ominous title card preceding last night’s episode of Bravo’s art-world reality romp, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. Immediately thereafter, the sassy sex-kitten contestant, Lola Thompson, — who probably still gets carded trying to buy tickets to R-rated films — proclaimed, “I need to put more of myself out there to show the judges more of who I am.” One didn’t really need to keep watching. It was already clear that Ms. Thompson was going to get naked. Read More

Work of Art

A Piece of Work: Watching Bravo’s Art Reality Show So You Don’t Have To – Episode 7

"Work of Art." (Bravo)

Black Friday has come and gone, and The Observer made it through mostly unbruised, even though we live near a Macy’s. We were neither pepper-sprayed nor shot. And what did we earn for our perseverance, other than electronics we don’t fully understand (it’s definitely either a musical tie rack or a radio-toaster)? Why, a thirst for the unabashedly commercial, a desire for further outlets for our gluttonous lust for all things branded and shiny, and payable-off in installments. Read More

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 7: Rubbernecking

China Chow and Simon de Pury on "Work of Art." (Courtesy Bravo)

The art world is in Miami. The Sucklord has been booted from the rarefied realm of reality television and is lurking somewhere, probably in Miami. So what do we have left, here at home, to be thankful for? Why, the fact that the search for the next great artist continues for us on the Bravo cable television channel, of course. On Wednesday night, there were seven contestants left in the art-critical arena, and yes, they were challenged, as all artists have been since time immemorial, with the task of creating art to please car-manufacturing television sponsors. Read More