Thursday, June 24, 2010

Survivor In The Art World

 L.H.O.O.Q. by Marcel Duchamp - Postcard of the Mona Lisa with Moustache and Goatee, 1919

Early in the 20th century the Dada movement responded to industrialization and the madness of World War I with absurdest or anti-art. In the 1960s Pop artists took commercial imagery out of advertising and put it on the gallery walls, see: Andy Warhol's Soup Cans. This legacy eventually brought us artists like Jeff Koons with his monumental sculptures of cartoons. Now Bravo television has a reality show called Work of Art. The winner (survivor) will receive $100,000 and a solo show at The Brooklyn Museum. Of the 14 contestants one will be eliminated each week after a critique of the week's artistic challenge. And yes, I've watched the first two episodes and am downloading the third right now as I blog. I find the show squeamishly reminiscent of my MFA program but like driving past a burning building I cannot help but slow down and look.

Jed Perl, art critic for The New Republic, wrote "There was a time when I might have dismissed “Work of Art” as a case of the pop culture czars turning the art world into another one of their fiefdoms. But after I watched the first episode, I was tempted to reverse the equation. I began to wonder if the whole ludicrous phenomenon of reality TV could not be traced back to the art world, and the cult of pseudo-documentary filmmaking that began with Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls in 1966."

Here in a film called Sleep by Andy Warhol we see an obvious precursor to Miles 2nd challenge, his Bed Piece, in Work of Art if not... the very origins of reality television!

Sleep by Andy Warhol


Work of Art: The Trailer

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