Work of Art ?

What's your opinion of the TV “reality” show Work of Art ?
What do you love about it?
What do you not love so much?
What can we learn from it–if anything?
Is it ruining our brain cells?
Is it denigrating fine art?
Should we deprive ourselves of this guilty pleasure and stand up for pure art?

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12 thoughts on “Work of Art ?”

  1. What’s your opinion of the TV “reality” show Work of Art ?
    I’m wanting to stay open minded – we need the media coverage
    What do you love about it?
    That you get to see the struggle and the joy they as artists go through
    What do you not love so much?
    The tight time limitations
    What can we learn from it–if anything?
    What it would be like to be a production artist, how to collaborate, different view points of other’s art
    Is it ruining our brain cells?
    It’s art, so no.
    Is it denigrating fine art?
    Not yet… although this week pushed it with the winner IMHO
    Should we deprive ourselves of this guilty pleasure and stand up for pure art?
    No. I believe in artists and I believe in making them more human to the public. In that much this show is a break through, and perhaps will be able to make people think about art more than just what matches their sofa
    I always read but rarely comment so I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for all that you do here and for artists Alyson!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Christy: I’m glad you commented today.
      One thing I don’t like is forcing artists to work in areas outside of their norm. I’ve always been against this. (A painter having to do a sculpture, a conceptual artist forced to make a traditional portrait.) This is what you do in school, not as a professional.

  2. I loved it and ended up watching it twice yesterday: once in the morning after seeing your blog post (yes, I called it ‘research’) then again last night with my 17 year old son. It was interesting to see it through his eyes. He’s newly and keenly interested in making art and other than our local scene, this was his first exposure to the art world. We were both really interested in seeing the art and wanted more of that, but it’s just an hour show. (With a shocking number of ziplock commercials…)
    I suspect the show will be a hit – it reminded me of the good qualities of Project Runway – and for most of those watching, this will be one of their first exposures to the art world. I think it will be interesting for people who like reality shows, but aren’t involved in art, to hear the critics talking about the ideas, history and passion behind the work and to see how artists create work.

  3. What’s your opinion of the TV “reality” show Work of Art ?
    A Standard reality/game show. Nothing more, nothing less
    What do you love about it?
    It shows the actual work involved in making art
    What do you not love so much?
    So far, Nao. Baaad attitude
    What can we learn from it–if anything?
    I think it can expose people to the creative process and show how a piece can go from concept to finished artwork
    Is it ruining our brain cells?
    No more than any other show on tv
    Is it denigrating fine art?
    Na. Some “fine art” denigrates art it’s self.
    Should we deprive ourselves of this guilty pleasure and stand up for pure art? Nope. I see it as just a commercialization of fine art, which depending on the person can be a positive or negative.

  4. So far I’ve been enjoying the show. I agree with you, Alyson, that’s it’s difficult to judge artists when they are forced outside their medium, especially when it’s having 2d artists work in 3d or vice versa.
    I think that the show brings up some interesting points though. I mentioned on FB about Abdi wanting each piece he works on the be made as if it were his last and what he would be remembered by. I think that is a great way to approach making. Or when they asked Trong if his piece would be in a retrospective of his work. Should every piece an artist makes be given that kind of critical judgement?
    I hope that the show will help to showcase all the thought, time, and work that can go into making art.
    What I also hope is that it doesn’t get caught up in the “this is what art is” kind of discussion. This week’s was kid of conceptual and it looks like coming up the challenge will be to shock viewers. Too many people think that this is all that art is about these days. Some art is about this, but so much more isn’t.

  5. To be honest, I’d never even heard of it til I read your initial post on it. Intrigued, I wandered over to their site to watch the one episode I could find. I’ve not seen enough to respond to all your points, but so far I find it fascinating. I love to watch others’ creative processes, and don’t often have the opportunity to do so. I’d like to do as Lisa McShane did and watch it with my teenage boy to see what he thinks of it. I do like that they have such a large variety of ages, backgrounds, and artistic styles amongst the competitors.

  6. I agree that making the artists work outside their genre is pushing it a bit. Especially 2d/3d. Sure, it makes them stretch, which can be good, but it also doesn’t let them do their best work.
    The tight time constraints also don’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s a weekly show, so why not give them at the very least several days, if not the whole week?
    Being a ceramic artist, I doubt I’d make it far, or even be selected under those conditions. Sure, I can do watercolors and photography too, but I wouldn’t want to be judged by that. And creating a completed, fired work in a day? Pretty much impossible.
    Do they ask ‘Idol’ contestants to write a symphonic tone poem? They are musicians after all….

  7. I wasn’t able to watch episode two until last night and I watched with a bit of trepidation.
    While I do enjoy watching the artists’ process, the challenge aspect makes me nervous for them. I can’t help but think of how I’d fare if I was required to create a sculpture – and oh by the way – do it in two days.
    Having the artists work outside of their medium and being judged/eliminated on the results makes me a bit sympathetically queasy. I’d hoped it would be more like Project Runway in that they get a theme or assignment and it is up to them to interpret it. I’ll still watch it though!

  8. I watched the second episode for about ten minutes and switched to something else. It struck me as just another reality type show, and I don’t care for that kind of in-your-face cutthroat competition. I don’t watch reality shows.
    It doesn’t bother me to have artists do a work of art outside their own genre as this is an opportunity for growth and exploration. We did a “found object sculpture” in one of my design courses in college, and it was a fun project that I’m sure we all learned from.
    If this show is about revealing the life of an artist and the creative process, I don’t see that happening at all. Perhaps I didn’t watch enough. I saw only a variation on a theme created for nothing more than simple entertainment.

  9. So far “Work of Art” is another formulaic “reality” show that doesn’t actually reflect the true reality of being a working artist, too bad.
    It’s interesting to watch other artists’ creative process, even under duress, but I could live without the prefab drama of personalities that are destined to clash.
    I think the time restraints are crazy, but it makes for good TV drama, so I’m sure that’s why it’s there. I also was looking at all the artists’ portfolios on the website & I noticed that they’re all very ‘edgy’ New York art scene style & there doesn’t seem to be any traditional working artists on the show at all – what does that tell the viewing public? Once again, it seems that many will be put in the ‘decorative’ pile for making work that employs traditional aesthetics, which is really too bad and personally rubs me the wrong way.
    I’m not sure what we might learn from this, though I did like your earlier comments Alyson, about the first artist being eliminated because she couldn’t verbally explain her work to the judges – I was looking for something to learn from this week, and I’m still looking – at least the judges didn’t eliminate anyone who was being pushed outside of their strengths by going from 2D to 3D. Maybe versatility can be a virtue? Or do we then become jack of all trades and master of none? I certainly don’t think this will live up to it’s name and find the next great artist, because the next great artist is too busy dedicating herself to her own work to stop and play these games.
    “Work of Art” certainly isn’t killing our brain cells any more than any other television show, and might actually be stimulating a few more than the average by making even the average viewer imagine what they might do to meet the current channel. My mechanic husband, who is being forced to watch with me, frankly came up with an idea for the materials one of the artists was working with this week that I think was better than what she actually ended up doing. I was sitting there thinking, “That’s pretty cool, why didn’t I think of that?”
    It remains to be seen, what this show will do for fine art – does it denigrate it by creating challenges and asking artists to produce work? I don’t think so – maybe it will help the general public see all the work that goes into a commissioned piece and the skill required to complete such a task.
    And should we deprive ourselves of this guilty pleasure and stand up for pure art? Not at all – this is no more a guilty pleasure than any other TV show, which I don’t watch enough of to feel guilty. As long as we don’t obsess and let it take over our lives, let it entertain us & allow it to promote whatever part of the art world that it can. And what the heck is ‘pure art’ anyway? I create because I must; I express what I need to express and then I find others who connect with me through my art and it’s a winning situation for all of us. Does pure art stay locked away in a studio somewhere or does it support the artist that creates it?

  10. I watched the first episode and I was really bored through most of it. Sure its only the first episode, they have to set up the show and the characters, but it just felt like it was dragging. And then to pick such regular topic for the first challenge didn’t help at all. Nothing was grabbing me. And my main feeling was “That one chick is annoying!” And I felt pretty disappointed. Which made me bummed because I want to like this show!
    I’ll still be watching for a few more episodes. But so far my feeling is just “Meh.” I’ve enjoyed some of the web exclusive clips more then watching most of the actual show. Those clips should be in the show!
    As for some of your questions. I don’t think most artists will be learning anything they don’t already know from this. But at least this may help show the world that artists are all very different people. Hopefully people that watch it will get a little more interested in art. Though I fear most people probably won’t watch this show.
    Its fine to have a guilty pleasure art contest to watch. I think most artists have been in some sort of art contest at some point with their “pure art” which they may or may not have made just for that art contest. And as with art competitions, the rules are laid out before you sign on for it. You can’t pull the taking them out of their main medium card here, these people read the rules, they knew they’d be forced to work outside their normal medium. They wouldn’t be there if they seriously had a problem with that.

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