During the show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist many critiques were made about how the show was not true to an artist’s process and that it was highly scripted or at the very least planned out to make ‘good television.’ While this makes for good entertainment, this does not necessarily mean that the show should be taken as a documentary. The show may be entertaining, but it should not be thought of anything other than that; it should not be taken as how artists actually work in real life.
The artists during the course of this show made many works and just because they were constrained to a time limit and had very little sleep does not jeopardize the fact that some of the art was good and some of it was bad, however this does not mean all artists should be held to this kind of standard. The challenges that this show put the artists through would make anyone, not just artists, behave differently, which is why many of the artists did not perform at their best and why many people feel the show is illegitimate- because they feel it misrepresents artists. If you think about it, being expected to uphold these kinds of standards in everyday life would misrepresent anyone. Life is not a game show. The last challenge for the artists was probably the most true to real life, where they had a 3 month time limit and a stipend for their works from home rather than committing to 24 hour or 48 hour challenges in an unfamiliar studio, where they were expected to make just as good, if not better (because of the risk of losing competition) artworks. If art in real life was truly this competitive, nobody would be an artist.
Additionally, the idea of a mentor is somewhat ridiculous in this sense. If the show is supposed to represent real life, then why is there a mentor telling the artists what the judges want to see? In real life there may be other artists and figures telling artists what will or will not work, but it is the artist that needs to figure out what the public wants to see or what they want to get across, not an auctioneer. In real life artists focus on what makes good art, not pleasing a panel of judges. As professional artists, they should be able to let their art succeed or flop on their own, (that’s not to say they may not need help or critiques sometimes) but they don’t need a mentor or teacher-like figure looming over them. That’s what school is for, not a professional business-like setting.
In this way the show becomes less legitimate and, well, more like a reality TV show rather than a documentary. The show may not necessarily suffer from this. After all, work of art is not trying to be a documentary; it is not trying to be taken seriously. The show is supposed to be a cheesy and entertaining show. Consequently, Work of Art should not be taken as anything other than it is- a funny, although not entirely true to reality, TV show.
Miranda, Carolina A. "Bravo's Work of Art Riles Up the Art World." TIME.com. Time Magazine, 04 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Aug. 2013. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2008870,00.html
Rosenberg, Karen. "A Museum Show as a TV Contest Prize." New York Times: Art and Design. New York Times, 18 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Aug. 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/arts/design/19abdi.html?_r=3&ref=design&
Saltz, Jerry. "Jerry Saltz's Work of Art Finale Recap: Life Breaks Through." Vulture. N.p., 11 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Aug. 2013. http://www.vulture.com/2010/08/jerry_saltzs_work_of_art_final.html?f=most-commented-vulture-7d5
Symonds, Alexandria. "Here's Jerry! After 'Work of Art,' Saltz Keeps Chatting: "A Lot of People, of Course, Hate Art Critics"" The Awl. N.p., 18 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Aug. 2013. Web Link Removed