For some reason I completely missed out on Work of Art: The Next Great Artist last season. Well, there's probably a great reason, as I try to avoid TV when possible. However, I remain intrigued by a competitive reality show about producing art so I caught a few episodes of season two the other day.
Whatever you think about the role of an artist and their relationship to their work and the public, Work of Art doesn't capture it. Produced by the same people behind Project Runway and Top Chef, WoA suffers from something the other two do not: an end product you probably won't actually like. You can watch a fashion or cooking show and lust after the dresses or food, but with WoA, just seeing the finished pieces isn't enough to keep your attention.
I think this is because a show about art should concentrate more on process instead of result. Instead, the format of WoA's contrived weekly challenges tends to brush aside any possible insight by concentrating on interpersonal plot lines. Then again, how do you depict the creative process on-screen anyway? You could argue that it's an interesting show simply because it shows artists period. In order for people to support the arts, they have to know some artists maybe? Even under any microscope or format?
What will keep me coming back to Work of Art is the critiques which probably mirror real art school critiques in their harshness. Because I generally just viscerally react to a piece of art, I don't actually have the vocabulary to disparage something I don't like. Work of Art is helping me out in this regard tremendously. "This is so second hand surrealism. You failed to draw me in as a voyeur or a viewer."
And I recently read this little book called "How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery" and while I have no aspirations on doing any such a thing (unless you want to lend me a few million dollars), it was a really interesting look into the commerical side of the art world. I'm always curious who owns art galleries, or how they make any money, this book shed some insight into that.