Thursday, June 10, 2010

New BravoTV reality shows on art - "Work of Arts"

Just saw the 1st episode of "Work of Arts", a reality-competition with a group of artists ranging from painters, sculptors, to even an architect. The premise of the show is quite familiar as you can easily say it's the art work's version of project runway. The shows are similar in their way of selecting host, assigning a credible mentor, to the setting in which the contestants are judged and critiqued. But the difference between the two shows is that fashion is mainstream, it's accessible, where art by nature and by popular demand is in the sub-culture, it's open-ended, and in the show's gallery format , the arts are far and inaccessible.

The show tries to glamorize art by suggesting, ever so minutely, that the epitome of success in art is to have a showcase in a swanky art gallery. But isn't art appreciated because it is rid of glitz and pretends, almost the more humility it possess the better. Is this an effort to showcase the business of art in the 21st century? And does art really belong in reality-competition? It is definitely an admirable effort and in order to keep the audience afloat in this sea of "artsy-ness", the show devotes significant screen time to the artists desperately trying to explain what their work conveys, but art is best left to self-interpretation by the audience. By nature, art appreciation is a symbiotic process in which the art itself and the audience is reaching some sort of state of mind, or agreement on what emotions the art evokes; it is a process in which the art impact the person, and often that takes time, which is a luxury commodity in reality-television.

Nevertheless, it is good to see executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker taking initiative to put something novel on reality television and dare the audience to love and appreciate something they probably wouldn't care much about. And this show is most intriguing in this juxtaposition of reality TV, something loved and championed by millions of viewers, and art, something relegated to such obscurity at times, especially hard ones that we live in nowadays. Is it going to be the love of drama and theatrics on TV that brings the show to the top or the loath of abstraction, a fury of "what the hell is going on" that brings this down?

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