Saturday, 18 February 2012

Work Of Art : Next Great Artist

From the guys that brought you Project Runway and Top Chef...
Just saw the trailer for this. This is officially one of the most cynical, depressing, ugly things i've ever seen. So the premise is - it's America's Next Top Model Artist. That's right, we're going to take a mix of a dozen-or-so creative types. Some annoying dilettantes no doubt, some genuine artists who are looking for a break. Then we're gonna set them a bunch of retarded tasks (including 'make a work of art based on your Audi experience' - that's right, like the car) and see how they perform under pressure. Yeah? Right? Yeah? Still with me? Then we get a bunch of 'names' from the fine art world to come in and judge them each week, decide who's art is worst, and then that person gets thrown off. Y'know, because their art isn't as good as everyone else's.
     There's so many things wrong with this i don''t know where to start, the hijacking of art as a whole to be used as some sort of competitive medium. The comparative judging of who's art is objectively 'better' by a panel of critics. The crass commercialism of the product placement by Audi and Fiat, the clearly market-researched attempt to staple-gun some 'cool' on by presenting tasks in which the artists must use Parkour and 'street art' (and pulling in KAWS as a final judge, shame on you). Even worse perhaps is the cynical use of the America's next top _______ format simply because they know that people for some reason can't resist it. Put anything in a 'reality' TV vote-off format and people lap that shit up. It's art-lite for TV. In the same way that X-Factor presents some ridiculous short-cut to ephemeral fame without the hard work, touring and creative exercise that actual musicians put in. This represents an art world where at any moment you could be picked from obscurity if the art you offer up for inspection to the critics is just good enough. So hold out that painting that you spent hours on, really worked on, that really made you proud, that you really found something with. And just hope its good enough.
    Honestly this is just part of my bigger hatred for all reality TV and it's presentation of:

  • An unrealistic world in which anyone can become a megastar overnight with little talent and,
  • A TV show where the viewers are actually involved. Bullshit. You don't pick the contestants. You just pick which one wins. To paraphrase Henry Ford 'You can have any colour you want as long as it's black'.Simon Cowell or whoever doesn't give two shits which of the contestants he chose eventually comes out on top, and every time you text in to vote he just gets paid more! Basically the real winner here is him.
 I don't have anything against the artists who appear on this show, they're probably just trying to get a break any way they can and they're probably talented. Otherwise the TV execs wouldn't have chosen them for the show presumably. What I do have a problem with is the show itself. The relentless dumbing-down and TV-ising of every form of expression available to us. Dancing, singing, and now art. As a culture we're slowly moving away from finding things ourselves through curiosity and interest and moving toward being drip-fed a TV-shiny, Hollywood, limp, bland, empty sack of crap version of everything because we just want to know who's being voted off this week. If you're interested in art don't watch this crap, take the 60 minutes you would have used watching it, get a piece of paper and a pencil and fucking draw something.

edit: sorry if you're reading this in America it's probably old news to you but i've only just seen the advert on English TV so i'm still pissed off.

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