Thursday, June 3, 2010

draw winky

I remember this advertisement from magazines and matchbooks when I was a child. The idea intrigued me, although I never actually drew “Winky” or “the pirate”. Why? I didn’t think I could, that I was good enough. Next week, the equivalent of this contest will premiere on TV’s Bravo Network as Work of Art - The Next Great Artist. So continues the latest installment of the Top Chef cum Project Runway slash Real House Wives of American Idol culture to which we have been reduced.  Jumping on the bandwagon, every art blogger seems to have become an apologist and gone Gaga for it. I will not.

I read the bios of a number of the contestants and many of them have already achieved a meritorious level of accomplishment. However, I would rather see a portfolio than a carefully edited bio. One artist works in “carbon based media”, hmmnnn…. ground breaking… pencil? Charcoal?  Everyone should watch the hilarious clips on Bravo’s website. Trembling and tearful, an artist pleads that she wants her art to show in a Museum. Eureka! She's discovered fudge covered cookies! In fact, the winner of this glorified game show will receive a substantial cash award and a one-person show at a major Museum. I personally believe that that type of accolade comes from a lifetime of achievement or singular genius. Here that honor will be bestowed after 14 weeks of assessment by a group of merchants.

I wonder if there will be any discussions of art in critical, historical or theoretical context? I wonder if the program will show the time working alone in the studio, filled with indecision and doubt, dirty, messy, tired without sleep, fashion, jewelry and make-up. I wonder if they will capture the genetic predisposition that forces the artist to constantly doubt, question and navigate the world in visual terms. I wonder if there will be anything real here at all or just have a depiction of what people think the life of an artist is like. Will they really be giving these artists assignments every week? I can see it now, “Your assignment Scatological Assemblage!” After  all, isn’t this whole thing a scatological assemblage?

Call me an elitist; call me a snob, I’m happy to assume either of those mantles. But I would like to make a suggestion. Don't watch this crap. Learn about art through you own experience. Go to galleries and museums in your community, support local not-for-profit art venues, encourage arts programs in your school districts, go to the library and check out books and videos of artists and their work.  My father was a physician who always hated doctor dramas on television. I can understand why.

Me? I think I’ll watch Jeopardy instead. Maybe I’ll learn something.

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