Friday, June 25, 2010

Bravo's Work of Art: A Different Perspective?

The fact that I like The Amazing Race and Top Chef makes sense--I love traveling and I love cooking. But it's less clear why I seem to get sucked into all these other reality shows, like Project Runway and Shear Genius and Top Design when in real life I probably have less-than-average interest in fashion and hairstyling and interior design.

Whatever the reason, this tendency continues with Bravo's latest competitive reality show Work of Art. I am definitely not into art. I sometimes wish I could draw or even do like computer graphic design but I think art museums are boring and I doubt I'd ever actually buy a piece of art.

But I find myself really liking this show a lot. I think one of the main reasons is that we get to see more of the artistic process. When I look at a painting or sculpture in a museum, I generally don't know what to think. I guess some people like that art is subjective and that they can have their own interpretation, but for me, I always kind of want to know what the artist's intent was. So with this show, we get to see that, how he or she came up with the idea and developed it and put it together.

And we also get to see how critics view the finished works. Given that I don't have much interest in art, I know even less about art criticism so I find the judging to be pretty fascinating as well. I've actually found myself agreeing with the judges for the most part, so maybe art isn't as baffling to me as I thought it was. Or maybe it's just the obvious editing...

All these Bravo shows have contestants with plenty of personality and this one is no different. One of the kookiest is Miles, who won the first two challenges and has had some kind of crazy antic every week. In one episode he was having trouble sleeping so he was napping all the time and actually included a bed in his sculpture and slept on it during the gallery show! In this week's challenge, the artists had to make a book cover for a classic novel, and Miles spent 4 hours actually reading the book! It's almost as if he's treating the time he's on this reality show as kind of performance art itself. I don't know if it's intentional or not but it's pretty dang entertaining.

I don't know what the actual art world thinks of this show--Project Runway and Top Chef have been pretty well embraced by their respective industries--but I guess I don't really care. So far the challenges have been interesting and hopefully that'll continue. Also the contestants so far have actually been kind of cooperative and helpful to each other -- no "I didn't come here to make friends" utterances yet -- but it's not all polite and boring. Maybe that's because this is the first season of the show and people didn't come in with a strategy or maybe it's something about artists?

Who knows, maybe this show will end up raises my appreciation for art? Pretty ironic I guess, since some people would probably consider reality TV to be the furthest thing from art!

No comments: