I believe that we are living in a Golden Age of television. Shows like The Wire and The Sopranos raised the bar of what a dramatic television series could and should strive to be. Comedy shows like 30 Rock and Community are as funny and unique as anything that has ever been broadcast on a major network. I am excited for David Simon’s Treme and Louis C.K.’s Louie. There are wonderful things going on, and you do not have to try too hard to find them. But you do have to try. Because HOLY CRAP is there a lot of bad television out there. And today we are reminded that this will continue to be the case. Bravo has announced a new show called Top Art (basically):

“Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” assembles fourteen of the art worlds most talented, up-and-coming artists in New York where they will compete for a solo show at the prestigious Brooklyn Museum and a cash prize of $100,000.

In each episode, contestants are faced with the challenge of creating unique pieces in a variety of mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, collage and industrial design. Whether they are using a trash heap as their canvas or creating original cover art for a classic novel, the weekly assignments challenge the artists’ to push the limits of their technical skills and creative boundaries.

Hahaha. Whether they are using a trash heap as their canvas, or a trash heap as their paint brush, or even a trash heap as their paint, one thing is for sure: this show will definitely be total garbage. Art is already ridiculous enough as it is when there are NO RULES and clowns are allowed to DO WHATEVER THEY WANT. The important thing is that this show is just definitely going to have a lot of respect for creativity and culture and is not going to be an extended commercial for the Dodge Stratus the winner will receive.

And speaking of respect, creativity, and culture, KATE GOSSELIN IS GETTING A NEW SHOW:

From the Hollywood Reporter:

It’s called “Twist of Kate.” Unable to legally show Gosselin parenting her own kids as originally planned, the network is announcing a new series at its upfront presentation in New York today where Gosselin travels the country to watch … other people parenting. And working too!

From the network: “In each episode, she’ll walk a mile in someone else’s shoes — meeting real families in the middle of their own extraordinary challenges. She’ll try out their jobs…see how their home life runs… see what they’re up against… and find out what they do to let off steam. Each family will have some unique circumstance that is a story in itself. As Kate gets to know them she’ll roll up her sleeves and see what she can do to help.”

I know a way she can help!

What a pair of awful new TV shows! This guy knows what I’m talking about:

Awww. He barfed!

Comments (89)
  1. While she’s going around the country seeing how other people parent, who is going to parent her children? Help your own family before trying to help others, Kate.

    • As sad as this sounds, I think that at this point, her traveling abroad to film a pointless and self-serving reality television program, thereby leaving her kids in the hands of someone else, is one of the best things that she can do for them. That being said, woof; these shows.

      • So is John Gosslin going to watch the kids? Will he get Christian Audigier to help him like they’re in some twisted white trash version of the Sound of Music?

  2. Gabe you left out the worst part. Sarah Jessica Parker is the host/ producer of the art reality travesty. So much ugh.

  3. They should just combine the two shows. Have the kids make crafts and cute art, she travels the country and sells them at county fairs.

  4. These should combine to form a supershow where artists make art on stage using other people’s children in front of a panel of judges including Kate Gosselin, Damien Hirst and the boner ghost of Keith Haring.

  5. speaking of Kate Gosselin can we talk about how this was the opposite of terrible

    @videogum loves you @jimmyfallon

  6. Midget Station Alpha AKA A&E Junior should stick to what it does – Midget shows and ripping off Hoarders and Intervention.

  7. The first show sounds like a class assignment I give to my students after reading The Great Gatsby.

  8. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  9. Bravo: Ok contestants, now you’re going to create tag art on the side of this building, and i want you to paint an interpretation of what it means to grow up on the streets of Chicago.

    Leonardo Da Vinci: But I’m not emotionally connected with this city, and I’ve never used spray paint.

    Bravo: Leonardo, good art should be flexible and able to fit in the boxes that we define. I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to ask you to pack up your paintbrushes.

    • after posting that, I realized that DaVinci did a lot of commissioned work for the church and is probably a bad example. Please read Leonardo DaVinci as ‘Salvidor Dali’. Notsewfast regrets this error.

  10. as an ex-art school student, let me say, this show will be the greatest/worst reality show ever. especially if they make them do group critiques. nothing is quite as awful as a super catty group critique.

    • i seriously doubt that this show will in any way resemble what a real art student would endure. i’m thinking more along the lines of critiques like, “it’s not drawing me in” or “i don’t see your motivation”. blah

      • This weeks guest judges are Odd Nerdrum and Justin Beiber.

      • And they will get a guy who is kinda sorta reminiscent of Tim Gunn but nowhere near the man Tim Gunn is, also every contestant will be Kenley and throw cats at each other

      • well that’s what critiques are mostly like, with people making incredibly bland, boring statements about incredibly bland, boring art, half of the people making really barfy faces, some one giggling in the back row, no cigarette breaks, half the kids nursing hangovers, the one girl who always makes weird christian-y art getting suuuuuper mad that no one is picking up on any of her ridiculous allegories, the boy who always paints sexualized images of his chubby girlfriend making super skeezy comments about someone’s self portrait, and doing it for three fucking hours straight. ugh. i think i might have unexplored ptsd.

        • i forgot to mention the girl who cries. oh there’s always the girl who cries. she also likes to listen to bright eyes real loud on her headphones during figure painting.

          and everyone talks about nothing but themselves and their art. aarrrrtbghfgh.

          • And the person who is most full of themself gets the best critique -

            He pulls [a Van Gogh dayplanner] out of his pocket. “The Starry Night, by Van Gogh. Good stuff. That’s what I paint,” he says, putting it back. “That’s what I paint.” (Professors nod thoughtfully.)

          • Can somebody get this gal some more upvotes?


          • There’s also the girl who wear a Naruto headband and a cat tail and talks really loud all through class (including lectures) and is totally unself-aware and cannot understand why the teacher doesn’t like her.

            Maybe that was just my class.

        • I think I love you! And art students unite. It makes me wish Art School Confidential didn’t devolve into a horribly cliche B movie in the second half. Because the first half was hi-lar-ious.

          I think what gets me is the idea that any artist can instantly jump into a new medium. I’m not saying you can’t work with multiple mediums. . .but do you really think a clasically trained painter with an MFA is going to be able to suddenly throw pots or cast metal?

          That being said, I’m going to watch the shit out of this show.

  11. In each episode, she’ll walk a mile in someone else’s shoes

    I’m rooting for athlete’s foot. Or at the very least, blisters.

    • And then subject the world to more images of her terrifying cry-faces? No, thanks.

    • Isn’t the second show basically watching her watch others, to gain understanding of our fellow man?

      So, TV is telling us to just read a novel. Have a conversation. Attend Take your daughter to work day as the daughter. And turn everyday work into works of art. Nice one, TV.

  12. I will watch “Work of Art” and I will take shots anytime it reminds me of freshman year in art school and I will be very very drunk before the hour is up.

  13. Dude. I’m totez sending in my app for Top Art.

  14. This week on TOP ART, the artists must create a work of art based upon the musical works of the Insane Clown Posse:

    We have a winner.

  15. more kate gosselin on tv = 2012 ain’t gettin here fast enough

  16. Whether they are using the Glad Family of Products as their canvas or creating original cover art for a classic novel using only Cool Ranch flavored Chicken in a Biskit, the weekly assignments challenge the artists to push the limits of the Artistic Roll Call.

  17. I’m looking forward a bit more to Dad’s Rocks in which John Gosselin goes around the country appraising peoples heirloom diamonds and letting them know if they’re the real thing or “CZs”

  18. seems more like a “Duh Aficionado” post to me.

  19. If this is anything like HGTV “Design Star” I’ll watch it and love it, because of schadenfreude (I think, they don’t have psychology classes in design school).

  20. Dostoevsky, on an interview he did with Charles Dickens:”He told me that all the good simple people in his novels [like Little Nell] are what he wanted to have been, and his villains were what he was (or rather, what he found in himself), his cruelty, his attacks of causeless enmity towards those who were helpless and looked to him for comfort, his shrinking from those whom he ought to live, being used up in what he wrote. There were two people in him, he told me: one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite. From the one who feels the opposite I make my evil characters, from the one who feels as a man ought to feel I try to live my life.”

    “If we can’t be good, then it’s not a bad thing to try to make something out of what is missing in us, or at least to see how others do it…” – Sam Shulman

  21. talesfromthetreetops.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/u-pop-unseen-121.jpg

  22. Speaking of television continuing to be terrible, can we get a shout out for Damages? Extremely well written and well acted legal drama that will most likely be cancelled after this season due to ratings. It only lasted three seasons, and I know that the tv networks need to put food on their families and what have you, but if kate gosselin is allowed to continue to be on tv and this show is not, something is very wrong.

  23. And yet how many new shows does Topher Grace have coming out? ZIP. ZILCH. NADA. Someone’s fuckin’ up.

  24. They can’t legally show Kate Gosselin being a good parent, but they can legally show her being a neglectful parent? That almost makes TOO MUCH sense!

  25. “I’m sorry Pierre, I don’t wish you were dead, thereby causing the price of your work to go up.” is the new “Please pack your knives and go.”

  26. Hi, this is your Friendly Neighborhood Grammar Nazi. Bravo, one does NOT create pieces “in a variety of mediums”. EVERYBODY knows the word “media”. You may think it means something else, but it does not.

    Oh shit I looked it up and the dictionary also allows “mediums”. Way to back me up, nerds. Goddammit.

    • I thought mediums was just what the lady at the Gap told me they were all out of

    • fuckin’ dictionary, what a jerk. I agree with you, “mediums” in this context sounds stupid. Not that Bravo ever sounds smart, really, but still.

      • They just kept saying “art” and “unique” and “prestigious” like they could get away with it. But all I have now is an apostrophe that seems to have landed several sentences past where they aimed it. It’s not the same.

  27. Do I smell (because garbage) recaps for Work of Art coming around the corner??

  28. Rant (caution: heavy use of scare quotes):

    As an art enthusiast and lifelong Cynical Sally, I’m not sure how to feel about this show. On one hand similar shows like Project Runway have been very successful in highlighting genuinely talented designers, like Chris March (who designed Meryl Streep’s Oscar gown btw) and Christian Siriano, and MANY/SEVERAL OTHERS I am sure (I am not very sure). Then again, I know much more about art than about fashion so maybe they’re not that great and I am just naive. On the other hand, the very concept of Top Artist presents an uncomfortable allegory for how things we like to think are “sacred” or “private” or which should be separate from mass spectacle (like family, addictions, poverty, friendship, weight struggle, ad infinitum) are constantly exploited and made somehow “worse.” The tension of Top Artist exists between the romantic/possibly elitist idea that art is part of a “high,” selective institution and reality television is part of a “low” or popular realm of consumption and that the two are necessarily at odds.

    But I don’t see what is fundamentally objectionable about this show, other than the fact that it removes artistic agency in a way by limiting their mediums and creative scope (i.e. “challenges”). It is the conflation of work with commercial products? Is it the fact that art outsiders are ostensibly going to be assessing the “quality”/”value” of the art produced? I guess the only true judgment can come about once the artists start producing work on it…if it’s all shitty then possibly we can blame that on the structure of the show.

    • Yes, to me the problem is assessing the quality or value. If the art is at least well made and original, you cannot say that Van Gogh is the winner because he beat Mondrian. It’s called personal taste, not “better”. I have the same problem with every show that tries to find the next pop star or other artist high or low. A panel of judges doesn’t decide what is good, the audience decides what it likes. Of course they like what they see on TV, so these shows are mostly self-fulfilling prophecies. But it just looks ridiculous to me that they try to tell me what to like more. Crap is easily identifiable, quality is a matter of taste.

      And also the Oscars.

    • I agree with you and would only add a few additional observations:

      a. While fashion design does involve aesthetics and artistic vision, in the end, they are making something to sell to someone, and that is always a bottom line in the critique. I say this not to disparage fashion or that show at all. ANTM is the same as well–the issue is who would want to book this model–a commercial concern (noting, of course, that the show is the fakest of fake shows). And while I am no longer an idealistic 14 year old and know (and hope) that artists are stacking mad chedder, I can see where we would feel discomfort were a judging process to come down to “Who would hang this in their home.” And I think that this reaction, for me at least, has less to do with the monetary aspect (alot of great artists and writers and musicians created their art for money), I am bothered by a certain ‘common-sense-regular-folk’ vision of ‘beauty.’

      b. Which is not to say that ‘regular folks’ cannot judge great art. They can and should, but what ‘regular people’ like and what one person thinks ‘regular people’ will like are different. An example from outside of the art world is ‘A Reader’s Manifesto’ by B.R. Myers–that is, the idea that ‘people’ don’t like ‘difficult’ books and that any critical praise for them is misguided or fake. You know, some people who are not academics happen to enjoy reading James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon for fun. And those people like Stephen King as well. My point being, I think we all get to feeling icky when someone tries to tell us what ‘people’ will like–there are lots of people and they all like different things.

      c. This is all tempered, of course, by the fact that not only have I not watched the show, but it hasn’t even been completed yet, so it could be the greatest thing ever.

      However, I see this problem: art, like humor, can do one of two things. It can reinforce the strictures of our society or it can raze them. I would say that great art does the second and bad art does the first. In general, a reality show on cable television is going to have to make money and to do so, I doubt will be so eager to challenge the our socio-normative assumptions.

      d. Next time, I’ll complain about the fact that shows are about personalities, but art should be about the work.

      • I kind of agree that the show will ultimately fall to a bottom-line, “Who would buy this?”-type level of evaluation. Which is extremely limiting, because some of the best art can’t be hung in a foyer, like installations or site-specific works, etc. But I also think that burdening this show with the mantle of Representing Art is silly, because it doesn’t really exist to literally represent anything except a way to accrue ratings and money. That said, this show must adhere to some form of high criticism…because if the only qualification for a work being “good” was that it could sell for a lot of money, then all the art produced on the show would just be Kinkade-esque. Even though I think there’s not much that TV producers and people who go on their stupid shows won’t do for ratings, I have to believe that even this money-grabbing show will be a little more self-serious than THAT. But I suppose that essentially describes the paradigm of good and bad art that you set up…I personally believe art like Kinkade’s is the visual opiate of the masses, and also just objectively bad. While I don’t think Top Art will be encouraging competitors to take photographs of a crucifix submerged in their own urine, I can’t see the judges lauding paintings of riverside cottages.

        (Next time, I’ll talk about the fact that art and personality are often indistinguishable. [Warhol etc.])

  29. The Kate one may not be Top Art, but you can’t Top Her Grace.

  30. And Buzz Aldrin, one of only twelve people to walk on the moon, got voted off Dancing With The Stars this week too.

  31. You all should be pissing yourselves in anticipation of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ coming soon to HBO… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boardwalk_Empire

  32. “there are NO RULES and clowns are allowed to DO WHATEVER THEY WANT” Wait are you talking about artists or bloggers?

  33. hmm….i also feel mixed about this show and will definitely have to …wait and see i guess…though I don’t really like Bravo much, mostly because of Desperate Douchebags

    …what’s his name Andy Cohen?

  34. When did a work of art become something that “up-and-comers” could throw together in a week or so and maintain that pace over the course of several weeks. How many great works of art were created from conception to completion in one week. Ezra Pound worked on In a Station of the Metro” for a year and that poem is only three lines long. I hope Bravo doesn’t expect to get any meaningful work out of these people because all they’re going to get are some half-baked ideas and piss in jars.

    • Most of Warhol’s silk screens were printed by other people in less than a day. You don’t have to be tortured to be a great artist. This is the 21st century dude…

      • And it’s great fun to argue whether piss(ing) in jars is art!
        A show with this art format went out in the UK this year. It was good fun, for all the reasons cleverly predicted in this comment strand. Roaring Ego Vs Raw Talent etc…One key: The artists decided their own media.
        The best thing was the inability of the judges to tell the ‘real art’ from the dilettante bullshit…The big prize was won by the super-hot posh girl who was always on the verge of expulsion. She found a metal fence crushed by a tree near a motorway. Gave it a lick of paint. Done.
        It made pretty good TV. Though it needed more piss jars and crucified tampons.

    • maybe they can throw them all into open-air cages & have them scratch out their “arts” in the dirt with twigs. they can call it: Top Cantos

  35. Hey, come on you guys. Monet was discovered on a reality TV show contest. This is serious cultural stuff here. This is art history being written RIGHT NOW. I already bought tickets to these artists’ retrospective at the MET.

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