Near Fame: Reflections on The Untitled Art Project

by Art Fag City on July 6, 2009 · 10 comments Events

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The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Art Star

It probably won’t surprise regular Art Fag City visitors to read that while I like the idea of an art world-based Bravo reality show, I’m not without reservations. Series such as these possess the potential to reduce the number of “artists only get famous after they’re dead” myths circulating popular culture, but just how much does an artist get out of participating in a show like this?

It would seem the outcome is mixed at best.  Last week, Unutterable pointed us to a must-read NY Magazine feature on Bravo reality shows such as Project Runway and Top Chef, which exposed the cracks in the carefully constructed fantasy that gifted amateurs can break into the big time. Undoubtedly the most obvious art world parallel presents itself in the “Where Are They Now?section of the article.  “As a rule, it's the older, more established contestants who are best able to take advantage of their exposure, simply because they already have the means,” writes Jennifer Senior. This sentiment is reminiscent of those expressed by myself and Skowhegan’s Executive Director of Programs Linda Earle last year regarding their prestigious residency.  Artists find it harder to capitalize on the connections made at the school when their careers are just beginning.

Although the NY Mag feature doesn’t touch on this point, the biggest problem the winners of this show are likely to experience will be having their art making practice pigeonholed.  Successful artists already suffer from this tendency—it is a challenge to sell art that radically departs from work that already has an established market. But this phenomenon will only be exasperated by a series that generates notoriety through project based art work made within such a short period of time.  Given that this preexisting rigidity in the market isn’t known to produce great results for art, the show seems poised to create just as many, if not more, artists unable to capitalize on their fame as previous Bravo shows.

  • http://www.mightbegood.org Claire Ruud

    I’m right with you, Paddy. The benefit to the artists will be very small. However, it’s possible that the benefit to the art world as a whole will be larger. Visual art gets little attention in the mainstream media. But if Bravo’s show is watched, it may offer the public access points into contemporary art, access points through which there is a chance they’ll dig deeper.

  • http://www.mightbegood.org Claire Ruud

    I’m right with you, Paddy. The benefit to the artists will be very small. However, it’s possible that the benefit to the art world as a whole will be larger. Visual art gets little attention in the mainstream media. But if Bravo’s show is watched, it may offer the public access points into contemporary art, access points through which there is a chance they’ll dig deeper.

  • http://www.judithannbraun.com jabraun

    Can’t it be seen just as the title of the show suggests, an “ARTISTS PROJECT”? As a conceptual performance piece…in line with artists who have lived and worked in gallery spaces…or streets…etc. The artists just claim the entire event, with all it’s challenges and effects, both individually and collaboratively. As artists they can do that, transform everything into art, just by saying so. The one line that can’t be crossed is “commercial branding”…

  • http://www.judithannbraun.com jabraun

    Can’t it be seen just as the title of the show suggests, an “ARTISTS PROJECT”? As a conceptual performance piece…in line with artists who have lived and worked in gallery spaces…or streets…etc. The artists just claim the entire event, with all it’s challenges and effects, both individually and collaboratively. As artists they can do that, transform everything into art, just by saying so. The one line that can’t be crossed is “commercial branding”…

  • http://www.dailyplateofcrazy.wordpress.com Big Little Wolf

    Anything that brings visibility to the world of fine art is helpful in these times of gallery closings, museum budget cuts, and fine artists engaged in fire sales of their works.

    I agree that the jury is out (and will be) on the advantages to the artists involved, but the potential for the producers to entertain AND to educate encourages me to wait and see.

  • http://www.dailyplateofcrazy.wordpress.com Big Little Wolf

    Anything that brings visibility to the world of fine art is helpful in these times of gallery closings, museum budget cuts, and fine artists engaged in fire sales of their works.

    I agree that the jury is out (and will be) on the advantages to the artists involved, but the potential for the producers to entertain AND to educate encourages me to wait and see.

  • http://www.artbyjo.com artbyjo

    number 78 7hours and 1 minute

  • http://www.artbyjo.com artbyjo

    number 78 7hours and 1 minute

  • http://www.artbyjo.com artbyjo

    http://community.ovationtv.com/_Untitled-Art-Project-Reject/video/729854/16878.html
    Also made THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, I got my minute.
    GIRL will be at the Ward-Nasse Gallery, 178 Prince ST, starting today, if you want to see her live, or check out the online Sunday story Do starving artist look like this by: Kelly Crow and my “GIRL” is the lead

  • http://www.artbyjo.com artbyjo

    http://community.ovationtv.com/_Untitled-Art-Project-Reject/video/729854/16878.html
    Also made THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, I got my minute.
    GIRL will be at the Ward-Nasse Gallery, 178 Prince ST, starting today, if you want to see her live, or check out the online Sunday story Do starving artist look like this by: Kelly Crow and my “GIRL” is the lead

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