You gotta read this. William Powhida on Bravo’s Work of Art. I’m no fawning Powhida fan, but reading this gave me a little faith (in what exactly, I don’t know). Made me feel glad I never watched an episode of that show, and stupid for having felt a little guilty about that fact. A small excerpt below; the entire lengthy diatribe found in full on the artist’s website.
“As the summer wore on I wished I could just say, â€œfuck it. Itâ€™s the Jersey Shore of the art world,â€ and watch the show. The problem is, I canâ€™t. Itâ€™s not really the show Iâ€™m pissed about. Iâ€™m pissed off by itâ€™s very existence and the promise it offers its contestants. Iâ€™m sure you all understand the basic fucking premise of the show; respond to an assignment, win, and get a 100k and a museum show. Sweet. All you have to do is crank out some art that is marginally less terrible than what everyone else is making. Itâ€™s not that you actually have to make anything good. My friend Letha used to explain that meeting the hottest guy in a bar is always a relative proposition. Sometimes, she would take home the hottest guy in the bar and still be making out with an ugly motherfucker. Despite this, and unlike the broader market where critics can ignore mediocre and bad work and collectors can chose not to buy it, someone had to win the show by default. It would have been way riskier and far more interesting if there was no guarantee anyone could win if the work wasnâ€™t good enough. I think this one of the most obvious flaws in comparing the show to life. In fact, even the losers on the show are still winners if we count recognition as a form of payment.”
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