Monday, July 19, 2010

Renewal and all that Jazz

So it's been months and months since I posted here. But I find that though I have a sparkling new blog over at wordpress, I can't quite quit thinking about stuff over here. Admittedly an odd notion since there really isn't a sense of space of place on the interwebs, but I kind of can't help it.

It feels right here.

So, the long and the short of it, is, I think I am back. Not least because every time I watch That Art Show on Bravo (Work of Art), my blood boils at the thin, and boring "crits" each artist or team gets. Take for instance this past Weds (14 June 2010). The contestants were divided into two teams to create a public art piece. And after so doing, during the "crit," on the most basic, kind of sweeping level, none of the judges mentioned either Turrell, Smithson or Judd...are the producers so committed to perpetuating the "artist as genius" myth that they overlook obvious, recent, antecedents?

Hell, even on Project Runway Kors or Garcia will stop a contestant in their tracks when they too closely or obviously riff a previous collection.

*pictured: top Scales bottom: Nuematon (winner)


zeller press said...

That show irritates me to no end. I've watched a handful of episodes, and each time I feel like clawing my hair out. The crits are so shallow, the art is hurried and half assed. The one show I didn't mind and tolerated was the one Andres Serrano was on.

kelly said...

I've been finding some blogs from participants on the show, and getting the vibe that the producers don't want to turn off viewers by showing the full depth of the crit. If two of the judges get into a debate over how derivative a work someone on the show makes, the audience will probably get lost in the name-and-jargon dropping. While we're in on the actual language artists use, someone watching a Desperate Housewife show or who is tuning in only because Top Chef ended and they lost the remote probably isn't going to follow. It's all about viewership, really. Not that I'm down with that philosophy, because I would really like to see the actual critiquing styles of the judges and the guest judges.

When Nicole poured concrete into the television set in the "found object challenge," I only thought "Doris Salcedo!?" I started thinking about the artists whose work I strongly admire, who by virtue of their process alone could never, ever, be considered for that show. Not that a television-based cash-prize competition has the end-all authority on artistic merit, but it does do a disservice to those artists. Video, sound, many installation and performance artists, and often fiber artists (because that is some SLOW shit)... I haven't fully been able to articulate why that point grates as much as it does. Maybe it's the producers/judges saying their intention is to re-awaken the American public to contemporary art. But their scope is very limited, and this competition is proving it is also slanted to a kind of character (youthful, entertaining, light-hearted) that will make good TV regardless of their craft or concept.