In an art world dominated by meaningless spectacle, empty-headed celebrity, and the self-indulgent concretization of biography, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist was a rare breath of fresh air. Like many “reality shows”, it gave us not reality, but an idyll: a world where creativity was so prized that all artworks were displayed to prominent critics, gallerists, and Chinese restaurant heiresses, and where a string of good weeks could earn you an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Kymia Nawabi, The Current Great Artist, earned her title the way everyone should: through hard work, talent, and flashing her tits on an elimination-based game show funded by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Bravo, though, seems to prefer the art world to art, and the delusional banshee-clowns of Gallery Girls to the monkish aesthetes of Work of Art. It was with great sadness that we learned this week that the network will not purchase Work of Art for a third season. The show’s producers, Magical Elves, are in talks with other networks, hoping to find somewhere in the godless realms of television another channel willing to stand up for human creativity. Their odds are slim.
We have become accustomed, in an age of recession and Batman, to the rhetoric of nightfall and daybreak. It is appropriate here. For two seasons, Work of Art was a fire in the darkness, a point of warmth and safety for those few remaining champions of the creative soul. Now, as its embers slowly die, we turn again towards the night, setting out one-by-one into a world that has no place for our kind. American high culture begins again its slow decline.
Lift up your heart, all will come right. Out of the depths of sorrow and of sacrifice will be born again the glory of mankind.