If anyone needed any more proof that the official world of the visual arts is in real trouble, the reality show Work Of Art: The Next Great Artist should settle all doubts. The young artists themselves are quite talented, but their mentors on and off the show are wrecking their native gifts and indoctrinating them with an empty ideology of novelty, stylishness, cheap social cynicism, silly “theory” and self concern. Craft and the meditative insight that comes with it are ignored or discouraged. Even the cleverness is now wretchedly hit or miss: it’s the cleverness of Ms. Brown who gets the fourth grade to make edgy PC Valentines. “Installations,” nude self photos, live cast “sculpture.” I suspect that some of these kids on the show could draw and paint and sculpt like angels if they were given a chance and real training. What a waste. Pardon the rant, but when there’s more art in 5 minutes of the average cooking–or modeling, or styling, or HAIRstyling–reality show than in a whole season of a series devoted to fine art, the wind has started blowing in a new direction.
Further note: actually the eventual winner, Abdi Farah, wasn’t bad. He seems to have survived his art education, and I hope he can keep his vision.
I’ve got to stop watching TV. But the semester–teaching a courses on beauty, epic, and poetry–should take care of that.
5 replies on “Gold Sprayed Macaroni”
Reminds me of a story I read somewhere about Maya Lin asking Frederick Hart over lunch if the live casts for The Three Soldiers were painful for the models.
Classes on beauty, epic and poetry — makes me wish I was back in school.
Such art is disappointing to be sure, but very accurately expresses the psyche of the times and in that regard forms an important part of the historical record. History will also note that such events reflect not the quality of art being produced but that being upheld by the mainstream media, telling both the story of the culture (the story it tells itself) and that of the clan of artists, most of whom are widely ignored.
‘Work Of Art: The Next Great Artist’ really made me cringe. To me, reality T.V. is documented proof that the U.S. is on its way to a version of the “fall of Rome”. I say this with a meager amount of crappy TV experience; my dark secret is that I participated in a “Real World”-style TV show about my high-school reunion…NBC’s “Class Reunion” 1996, and I did it because they paid me pretty well and I was just beginning to make art.
Thanks for the Gold Sprayed Macaroni post!