July 21, 2008

Could Reality TV be (gasp) good for the artworld?

When I first graduated from art school, Stefan Stux looked at slides of my work and proclaimed, "This may be good, but it's not going to change the course of art history!" Wouldn't this make a suitably idiotic catch phrase for Sarah Jessica Parker's new art reality TV show? According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show, which is being compared with "Project Runway," has recently been picked up by Bravo. Aspiring artists will compete to produce various styles of artwork (painting, sculpting, etc.), which will then be judged by a panel of (as yet unnamed) experts. Parker's Pretty Matches production company is developing the project with Magical Elves, the production company that created "Top Chef" and "Top Design." Rather than mocking artists and the art world, perhaps the show will help make outsiders more comfortable with contemporary concepts and approaches to art making. Although described vaguely, the format will somehow pit artists working in the same media against one another. Let's hope the show will try to reflect current art practice accurately. Any ideas as to who might be selected for the "panel of experts?" Not Stefan Stux, I hope.

6 comments:

Can Stefan Stux say that ANY of his artists have changed art history?

He can definitely say that a number of them changed galleries, that's for sure.

You can change the course of art history, just by reading a different art historian. Not that Stefan probably gets around to much reading.

ouch! Stux is not the only offender - neither the least nor greatest.

I do look in the window once in a while - I might call his esthetic academic modern, but that would be snarky and meanspirited. I honestly think he thinks he has avant guard taste rather than mere pretention.

I suspect it's a ruse. What is his REAL agenda? I know galleries like Agora and MonkDogz are populist (I loved the renamed (new ownership?) Spike Gallery - so trashily eighties), and in the case of Agora, blatantly FOR PAY. But Stux is another bag of worms.

The art star thing is so old hat now - though I'm glad the concept hasn't been abandoned - its a good one.

Deitch failed because he made it and ad for and about HIM, but failed to be Donald Trump. Where was the drama? The best applicants were let go (even some fabulous ones), and the remainder - some already vetted by the system, were a tepid lot.

A good show needs conflict - drama, and the only way to do that is to take strong personalities and pit them against each other in absurd challenges with real winners and losers.

Unlike the art world, television thrives on lack of subtlety and it likes its irony served hot and bothered. Know what I mean?

I'm talking bikini clad mud sculptresses and no holds barred street theater, not color chart contests and speed sculpting.

I mean amazing race meets iron chef in the octagon.

I wonder if this is something every artist he comes across needs to do? Who has to change history and who doesn't?

I ask this because a local critic said to someone about my work: "I like it but I don't think it's pushing forward the story of art."
Hmm. He would also review artists and compare them to figures in art history - "he paints like George Inness" etc - like it was a good thing. Why is it up to some of us (and not others) to change art history?

Is it really up to the artist to care?

I think it's just a roundabout way of saying the critic is not hot for work described thus.

Their 'story of art' is basically the story of their peer group pressures.