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Work of Art

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 5: Ripped from the Headlines

"Work of Art." (Courtesy Bravo)

There’s all the news that’s fit to print, and then there’s reality television, which is kind of like all the news that snuck in over the transom, while readers of The New York Times were fitfully dreaming about the economic meltdown, war in the Middle East, and human rights violations in China. Basically, when it comes to real-world news and Bravo, never the twain shall meet. Or so it was, until along came a certain piece of avant-garde programming titled Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. Read More

Work of Art

A Piece of Work: Watching Bravo’s Art Reality Show So You Don’t Have To – Episode 4

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

Consider, for a moment, Kim Kardashian’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it marriage to hunky basketballer Kris Humphries. E! aired their nuptials to a whopping four million viewers. Fast-forward 72 days—when, in the tweeted words of Padma-Lakshmi-ex/that genius-of-modern-literature Salman Rushdie, “the marriage of poor kim #kardashian was krushed like a kar in a krashian”—and what have we gleaned? That while there’s always something to be learned from reality TV, sometimes that thing is the value of learning itself (e.g., the multimillion-dollar lesson that when televising a sham matrimony, one shouldn’t title one’s program Kim’s Fairytale Wedding). Read More

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 4: Send in the Children

Michelle chats with one of the young guest artists. (Courtesy Bravo)

If you’ve gone for a stroll recently—you know, a stroll, that thing one sometimes goes for when one’s television is broken—you may have noticed something strange was afoot.

Of late, the city has become a wasteland in which tiny people dressed up as the angriest of birds and the most patriotic of captains roam the streets demanding you feed them. Yes, I’m talking about Halloween, when women ride the subway in their undergarments, and we all remember how adorable children are, even when their sick-minded parents have dressed them as zombie Amy Winehouses. Read More

Work of Art

A Piece of Work: Watching Bravo’s Art Reality Show So You Don’t Have To – Episode 3

Young Sun on "Work of Art." (Photo by David Giesbrecht / Bravo)

I’m going to posit that if you went into a pitch meeting with the programming bigwigs at Bravo and laid out your plans for a reality television show on—wait for it—semantics, you’d get kicked to the sidewalk before you could say “Chomskyan internalism.” And yet, ostentatious semantic debate, like ugly futons and alcohol poisoning, is a staple of a well-rounded higher education. So (and for this we’re quite grateful), Bravo has graciously acquiesced to the shtick of this weekly column—from which you, dear reader, are receiving a university-grade tutorial on contemporary art as defined by a reality television show. Therefore, before you start thinking you’re ready to graduate from the Lycée Bravo just because you passed Padma Lakshmi’s seminar on Foucault, it’s time to review the lecture notes from Work of Art: The Next Great Artist’s recent foray into defining the relationship between linguistic symbols and their meanings. Read More

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 3: Rob Pruitt Judges Pop Art

Artist Rob Pruitt and critic Jerry Saltz. (Courtesy Bravo)

In this week’s installment of a certain Bravo reality television show, viewers nationwide were confronted with a fatal jet-skiing accident, sexual harassment, a discussion about the appropriate setting in which to consume a Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, and lots of boobs. Surprisingly enough, however, there were no real housewives involved. The television program of which I speak is actually Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, and thankfully a real artist (guest judge Rob Pruitt) dropped by before the hour ended and steered the show in the direction of, you know, ART, albeit for like 12 seconds. Read More

Work of Art

A Piece of Work: Watching Bravo’s Art Reality Show So You Don’t Have To – Episode 2

China Chow and Jerry Saltz on "Work of Art." (Courtesy Bravo)

As you may recall from last week, you are an invalid. (Condolences.) Yes, for the purposes of this column’s shtick, you are physically incapacitated and reduced to relying on reality television for news of the art world. Not real news mind you—here, you’ll find neither skyrocketing auction prices, nor reports from rebounding European fairs; there will be no restitutions, reattributions, deaccessions or heists. Rather, what’s in store is yet another tutorial on Contemporary Art Today, as delivered by the cerebral academics at Bravo every Wednesday, at 9/8c, and explained by this columnist, your devoted teaching assistant.

WEEK TWO: Wherein we glean that while in the “real art world,” an M.F.A. degree from a top-tier graduate school may garner the attention of galleries, launch your career and enhance your artistic practice, it will not brace you for (let alone protect you against) the savagery of televised art experts. Read More

Work of Art

A Piece of Work: Watching Bravo’s Art Reality Show So You Don’t Have To – Episode 1

"Work of Art." (Courtesy Bravo)

Let’s pretend you’re bedridden — you and Grandpa Joe and the rest of the elderly Buckets. This isn’t like real life, where you would never spend 12 hours straight in a horizontal position, tuning in to television marathons and only bending your knees occasionally to prevent blood clots. (We certainly have never done that! Awkward laugh!) But here you are, and here you’ve been, in bed, for so long that you can’t recall much about the real world, let alone the real art world. Read More

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 1

The contestant on "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist." (Photo courtesy Bravo)

If you don’t already know the Bravo reality television show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, it’s because you a) don’t live in the real world, and so have never heretofore encountered reality, or b) hate joy and astounding things like art and executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker’s tiny torso, or c) don’t own a TV, because you’re one of those people. But FYI, the second season of Work of Art premiered Wednesday night, and if you’re ready to jump on in for round two of the self-referential, critical/gladiatorial brawl, I’m here to offer you a week-by-week primer on what transpired. Because, you know, sometimes reality television can be confusing without someone there to break it down for you. Read More