Maria Williams-Russell Art Blog
I'll admit it - I love my competition reality TV shows, especially the ones where people have to demonstrate some skill and creative talent to win. I especially love Last Comic Standing because comics are often not funny when they're hanging around the house - the first season they were downright curmudgeons and I loved them for it because once they hit the stage they transformed into hilarious likeable beings. Genius! I also am addicted to Project Runway where the competition is difficult and the designers have to really "work it" to avoid elimination. Sometimes I daydream about what kind of garment I would have made if I had been on the show... So, when I found out that Bravo TV has just agreed to take on an art reality show, I was very pleased.
The show is called American Artist and is the brain child of Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex in the City". It will feature artists as contestants who will be given a new art challenge each week that tests their overall artistic talent through media, skill and creativity. The artworks from each challenge will then be judged by a panel of fellow artists, gallerists, collectors, curators and critics. American Artist's grand-prize winner will receive a gallery show, a cash prize and a sponsored nation-wide museum tour according to Jim Hibbard's Live Feed of the Hollywood Reporter. Not too shabby.
For those of you who snub this kind of TV, I understand. I'm sure it is completely produced to tug at our heartstrings and make us love to hate. However, I do think shows like these have some merit beyond entertainment. For one thing, I think it is a step in the right direction when our society begins to root for the emerging artist. Artists face so much adversity as it is, especially when they just start out, that to have TV shows honor their talents is positive for our culture as a whole. Also, these shows do a good job at communicating an artist's passion and tireless committment to their art regardless of fame and fortune, turning the emerging artist into a role model for viewers. Lastly, through these shows the average viewer is given the chance to learn something about art outside of a museum or gallery. Art becomes personal and watchers gain an appreciation for the process and the final product that they may have not had before. Of course everything depends on how the show is produced. Done poorly, it could be a total bust, but if it's done well, I bet TV audiences everywhere will embrace American Artist.
What will that mean for art sales? They say that ballroom dancing classes had through the roof sign-ups after Dancing with the Stars!