Contestants on Bravo's Work of Art: The Next Great Artist compete for a top prize of $ 100,000 and a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum. Let me give you a spoiler alert, I mention who wins the first three episodes!! Each round of the competition, the artists create a work of art according to certain specifications given to them, and are judged to either win, remain in the competition, or get eliminated from the running. The first show had the artists doing portraits of each other in an open medium competition. An architect, Amanda, was the first to go with her abstract patterned piece that judges claimed could never be seen as a portrait. Artists of many types are asked to do work that they may never have considered . The second required sculptural work made of found objects, presented to the artists in the form of a pile of old electronics, and a $ 100 budget at a hardware store. Trong, an installation artist, was eliminated here for his piece of "insider art". His work of televisions watching each other, perhaps conversing, may have been less impressive than a lot of the work of sculptor Tom Friedman, whom he referenced with an acronym, WWTFD. Maybe the judges were just mad that Trong found that the found object timed competition closely mirrored an existing artists concepts. The third episode held a competition for a Penguin cover design on one of six classic titles. The winner, John, created a redesign of H.G. Wells The Time Machine.
Work of Art is paving the way for one lucky artist a season, but it appears to give both commercial and publicity opportunities to all contestants that make it on the show. It also looks super fun to be involved with. Kind of like being in school for art, but they kick you out depending on how your critique goes, and you get a cash prize for making it through. I will admit that the idea of putting the judgement of artwork in the hands of reality T.V. seems almost absurd. It is interesting to see a different path for artistic success open up from such a base medium. And I think that reality T.V. is trying to be sort of more 'now', with less consumption of bugs and more hipsters. The difference between Work of Art and traditional routes to be recognized and shown in gallery's and museums is the audience. An audience of people who subscribe to cable and get bravo and who may be a little more arbitrary than those who follow the goings on in the art world, but maybe not any less exclusive. Work of Art certainly seems like it has value to the people that are on it and it it has been entertaining to watch so far, (at least to me). The first episode is available free on Hulu but after that it's on Bravo, or you can get a season pass on itunes for $ 10 or so. So check it out and see if you like it too!