Friday, June 25, 2010

Work of Art? - from the Bravo Channel

I love, Top Chef. And other "Reality shows": Hell's Kitchen (or Kitchen Nightmares, F-Word, etc.), Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (deal with it, Kathy's hilarious and no, for the record, I'm not gay, never have been, never will be), Top Chef (as I said), Ghost Hunters, Last Comic Standing, or...Saturday Night Live.

I might add, I do know how to use the fast forward button on some of these shows. But no, not on Ramsey's, Bourdain's, Griffin's, Padme's or Kris William's shows.

This show seems to be produced by the same producer. Or channel. Oh, wait, it is.

From the Bravo web site: "Bravo’s latest stroke on the reality canvas brings Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Sarah Jessica Parker and her production company, Pretty Matches, together with the Emmy-nominated Magical Elves (Top Chef, Project Runway) and Eli Holzman, to produce Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, an hour long creative competition series among contemporary artists."

So, once I recognized the format of Top Chef in "WoA", I liked it immediately. They have also tweaked it just right, adding a Mentor, for instance, replacing Thomas Patrick "Tom" Colicchio, in the process moments.

I do wish I had seen the show from the beginning tonight. But I only heard about this from Susanna, today (thanks Susanna). So I set Tivo to record it tonight. But it was already playing when I started to record it. I'll catch it again in rerun (like an hour after its over, after Top Chef).

I mentioned the show to my eighteen year old artist/photographer, college student daughter but she had no interest in yet another reality show. Which I was sad about. The reality show thing, I can relate to. But as with my son, and other young artistic types, there is little desire to immerse oneself as fully as possible into the chosen area of interest.

But I was happy to see she came down toward the end of it and showed at least some interest.

One of the things this show exemplifies is how "artists" can be well, odd. Or, petty, elitist, pretentious. One artist, turned out a professional piece in this episode's challenge. There was a close second in a very standard but professionally commercial design.

Having only seen one episode now (and I'll watch others), and it having been about designing and producing a cover for a Penguin paperback book, it covered aspects of art, professionalism (producing when you are under direction and pressure), and commercialism. Something that many "artists" turn their nose up to; but as the judges pointed out, it was good enough for, "Picasso, Miro, it was an honorable thing to do, to collaborate to make a beautiful book cover".

When I was in college, with high mindedness in the forefront, as an "artist", I felt that I wouldn't compromise my "art" (in my case, wordsmithing). My fellow thespians felt the same. But, one of the greatest things my Theatre Professor ever told us, was:

"Do not sacrifice your making a living over that of your conception of what your "art" should be. There is NOTHING wrong with eating, paying your bills, making a living, while you do your art. Make a name for yourself. Then you can do your art. Because once you are respected in your profession, then you can take the time, and afford, to make what you consider to be your art." He was not saying, sell out. He was just saying, its okay to get paid, to earn a living, you don't really have to starve, albeit a noble pursuit, to be or become, an artist.

Artists tend by nature, to be a protected sort. That, is okay. For some at least, we need that separateness. But its dysfunctional to not be able to adapt. Intelligence, is the ability to adapt to one's environment and excel. The better you can adapt, the more quickly you can adapt, the higher your intelligence therefore, IS.

To act the "pampered elite" is just immature. If, you are God's Gift to the world in an artistic sense (and, really?), then I don't have a problem with it. But then you had damn well better be. God's Gift. Some people are just asinine in their pomposity. They are arrogant, but you know what? I've always felt that if someone were that good, and arrogant, then they had a right to be. I think some people do. I don't think they should act that way, but if they do and they are, as I said, that good, then fine. I'll deal with it and feel humbled in their presence.

I don't feel bad around people like that. In point of fact, I can learn something from them. I would prefer they were all humble and pleasant, but whatever. On the other hand, its also annoying when you are that good at something, and people act like you are acting all pompous when really, you're not. Its their self esteem issue. But that's another story (they were an artist....).

BUT, people who are all arrogant and asinine, and NOT that GOOD, well, they are just asinine and I really can't learn anything from them. Some people just find this is a way to make people THINK they are that GOOD.

But don't be fooled. They're not.

In the end (this is about WoA, remember?), I will watch Work of Art again. I found it fascinating. And, the annoying, older, wacky (insane?), "fish out of water", pretentious, self-proclaimed (and I guess she really is a), "fine art" artist, is no longer there. I won't miss her. Nor will a few of the artists.

Oh, sorry.

SPOILER ALERT! heheh....

Tomorrow: Padding - The Downside

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