In case you haven’t been watching, Bravo’s new TV show, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, is on and what a controversy it has created. Â The art community generally hates it, here’s what aÂ Salon articleÂ said recently: “To hear artists and art critics kvetch on blogs, in the arts press and at art openings, it appears Bravo’s new series, “Work of Art: America’s Next Great Artist,” is ruffling feathers.” Â
What this has created is a great conversation between Jerry Saltz, the art critic for New York Magazine as one of the judges on the show, and viewers. Â Every week Mr. Saltz writes an online recap for the show and the comments have been steadily building. Â What is unique about this conversation is that Mr. Saltz is actually responding to the comments, participating in the live conversation. It’s obvious most of the commenters are artists, and the conversations go back and forth between discussions about the art pieces and the contestants’ personalities. Â Some of it is heated but a lot of it is just great discussion on the relevance of a reality show about art. Â
Art has always been a part of the rarified intellectual world, a place where the general TV watching public dare not tread. Â But Bravo’s TV show affords a place where entertainment and the art world can collide. Â Mr. Saltz’s presence in the comments gives the chance for artists and non artists to talk about their opinions. Â Mr. Saltz seems to be genuinely interested when he asks a commenter, “Who do you think should have been sent home?” Â Additionally, Mr. Saltz Â gives insights to behind the scenes information, like when one commenter noted the disclaimer that runs at the end of the show, “Winning and elimination decisions were made by the Judges in consultation with producers. Some elimination decisions were discussed with Bravo,” Jerry responded by saying “No one at BRAVO or any production company or anyone connected and not connected with the show in any way has ever asked me to keep or eliminate an artist,” which was great to hear after the very controversial elimination of Erik, the one untrained artist on the show.
Mr. Saltz’s most recent recap for Episode 5, called Public Shaming, has so far garnered 20 pages of comments. Â That’s a total of 195 individual comments posted. Â After doing a quick scan on the Vulture site (New York Magazine’s online site) I saw other TV recaps, movie interviews, and general media articles with 20 comments at the most. Â Artists are passionate and opinionated people and the discussions after the recaps show that.
You can watch Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist on Wednesday nights, click here for more information on the show. Â Each episode can be viewed online as well.
You can read Vulture and Jerry Saltz’s recaps and join in on the conversation at nymag.com.