Jerry Saltz

Jerry defends the show and laments how short he appears on TV.

on Oct 13, 20110

It's baaaa-aaaack! I'm sorry.

Work of Art, the reality-TV game show — or more accurately, that unscripted sitcom that features me as a judge — has returned for its second year. I'm as shocked as anyone that this strange, strange show lasted past season one. But it did. Blazingly, evidentially. Even more surprising, I know last season's shows are now being aired around the world, because I'm getting lots of e-mails from South Americans upset that Peregrine got eliminated, and from Germans asking me what the show's "concept" is. In New York people still stop me on the street and say, "Hey, you're that reality art judge!"

13 comments
Do Art
Do Art

You said: "To have more people look at, appreciate, and be exposed to art, wherever it comes from, however it's seen." If for no other reasons than these, this show is necessary in America and the World. Humanity needs creation and anything, even a reality TV show about making and critiquing artwork, however much it is edited, is feeding a hungry nation. With education dollars being cut and arts and music disappearing from our schools, the art snobs (oh, sorry, elitists) may pooh pooh it while paying ungodly amounts of money for S**T, doesn't mean it is not a valuable tool. From my perspective, if it is showing people art, how to make art or giving them an appreciation for experiencing art, then it is enormously successful.

I AM pretty disgusted by the number of MFAs selected for this show--as if they have any freakin' genuine creativity left in them after academia has sucked it out of them and could any of them actually create an original thought or artwork? Artists certainly take classes and learn from each other but this obsession in the "Art World" (sorry, I HAVE to take a bit of a sarcastic tone with it because they take themselves so f'in seriously!) with MFAs and classical training is NOT the be all or the end all of art. Honestly? There are only so many classical paintings I can stand to look at in a museum--after you've seen three or four, the rest are pretty predictable and is that really what we want? On the other hand, making weirdness to make weirdness and call it art doesn't make it art either. Some artists are really clever, in the most wily sense (Young is one) and are learning to market themselves as "message bringers" and "serious artists"--OH the "Art World" must just orgasm when they meet those artists.

I do hate that the show is only an hour and realize that there is a lot of conversation and technique that is on the cutting room floor--all of which I am guessing is valuable.

I love the challenges, try to come up with my own ideas for what I'd do and plan to execute these sometime in the coming months to see if I can make a work of art in less than two days. I DO love all the access to materials (that gi-normous printer for one) that the artists are given. Would love to hear more of the critiques because I think many things are taken out of context, but I also think that as humans, the judges seem to have "favorites" that they champion, even with the artist really is just getting by (for you, I think Michelle is one of your favorites though I don't think she really has demonstrated that she is that much more capable than some of the others, and clearly, you have a crush on Lola. I wish there was a way to scour your memories from week to week so you have to look at each artists work fresh each time.

Yes, sometimes you come across as a complete douchbag, but there are times when I agree with your assessment (as seen on TV). Regardless of whether I agree with you, I do respect you, the other judges and especially the artists for even putting themselves out there in what has to be a pressure cooker situation, as well as for their artwork and creative process, whether or not I care for their pieces, I'm just thrilled that ART is finally going mainstream and I want MORE, MORE, MORE. I just don't want this show to be the definer of what art is because art is practically indefinable being as subjective as it is and because there are so many mediums available now that weren't even possible just 40 years ago....

You have a great, quirky style in your blogs. Or else your assistant does. Either way, you make me chuckle and sometimes even guffaw. Hee hee.

colleenlaughs
colleenlaughs

so glad this show lasted another season! I live in rural alabama and have little access to other contemporary artists, critics or discussions about the process of art. The internet is great but there is something so fun about seeing it all come together on screen. I get that we are seeing a fast food version of the process but it is better than nothing. Hearing the snippets of crits on Work of Art makes me rethink some of my own work and takes me back to school when motives were pure and vocabulary convoluted. thanks, jerry, for coming back.

BarbaraE
BarbaraE

I'm actually very interested in hearing more of the crits! I've looked at modern art all my life, and never been able to make heads or tails of the analysis of it, so I'm hoping to learn something from you... like how to express why a great color field painting is art, while a well-painted decorative accent wall isn't. I can feel it, but I can't for the life of me express it.

SnowMan
SnowMan

Jerry,

As much as I liked the Sucklord's work--and as a huge fan of LOTR I agree with him, the painting was impossible to improve on because it was already perfect--I wonder how you felt about Lola's piece after seeing the process she went through to make it (essentially a performance piece created by WoA's editors). Do you like it more or less, or does only what's on display matter? I might have thought it lame without seeing her assemble a bunch of things that didn't work by themselves into something ultimately affecting.

JTF
JTF

Love your blog and love the show. I love that it gives me an insight on how artists' minds work and it does give me an idea on what differentiates good art vs bad.

Marie White
Marie White

Jerry, For whatever my opinion is worth, I am glad you didn't listen to your comrades and stuck with the show. Your comments and blogs are the reason I pay attention.

Jennifer Willard
Jennifer Willard

Mr. Saltz, I appreciate and echo your sentiments. I've taken a lot of heat from my colleagues for watching (and enjoying) this show, but I think every episode poses some legitimate (albeit perhaps unintended) questions. In fact, I often adapt the challenges to fit the time and space constraints in my own classes for my students just so they can experience producing under pressure.

That having been said, my favorite moment last night was the horrified look on your face when Mary Ellen Mark said that the Sucklord's artistic contribution "spoke to her."

VAZZXO
VAZZXO

I'm glad you're on this show. I love Work of Art. I wish BRAVO would consider making a TV reality competition show for mime and performance artists! Then I would try out. I look forward to seeing you again next week on TV.

JaxYankee
JaxYankee

I liked your post, Jerry, with more of a 'behind the scenes' view from someone that seems somewhat wary of the whole concept, as am I.

I'm the grandson of a painter, and the son of a professional artist (cartoonist/illustrator/wildlife watercolor painter), but have zero artistic ability (I have an engineering brain instead). But, because of my upbringing around art, I think I have good appreciation of both the creative process and the final destination. I married a musician (organ/piano) and find I appreciate music in the same way. I expect art to say something to me, and my preference is for it to provide some pleasure, but I can still respect the shocking or dark piece, as long as it is not simply shocking for the sake of being gruesome.

So I really enjoy the show because it exposes me to a broad range of styles and techniques, and it is particularly intriguing to see that variation applied to the same general theme. I also enjoy seeing the artist connected to their work, because it adds another dimension to the piece. Obviously it needs to stand alone, but having some artist commentary and hearing what piece of themselves lives in their work is another wonderful level of art appreciation that I can't get (easily) anywhere else.

Lastly, can you just call The Sucklord 'Su' or something? It's especially grating to hear Simon call him Sucklord.

crewtwo
crewtwo

I dont understand how people can say it is destroying art????? elitists.... I think if it exposes one kid to art and it inspires them to create art then it is successful. Great blog Jerry.... keep up the good work ; )

Margielyn
Margielyn

I am so happy that you are back for another season. I had my DVR still set in case your show did come back. Some of the art is just amazing. I am just hoping the entrails girl comes up with a different theme. I'm tempted to say, no guts no glory.