Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Entertainment Industrial Complex

Last night I thought I had tuned in my favorite art-based reality competition show, but all I saw was an infomercial for expensive cars. Things started out normally enough, with all the contestants dragged out of bed before sun up as part of the week's art challenge. The challenge was to be shown on camera driving luxury SUV's a few dozen blocks to the automaker's showroom. Once there, the artists were encouraged to spend time in and around all the cars, and to reflect on their experience inside the "very sophisticated vehicles". (the name of the automaker was spoken or shown 10 times in the first 3 minutes, but since they haven't paid me, I won't be promoting them) Most of the artists set about taking photos in and around the cars, while two went with their established preferred strategies. Miles the printmaker found a place to curl up and take a nap, and Jaclyn decided that all the men passing by on the street couldn't stop looking at her (despite her radical decision to keep all her clothes on this week), so she stood in the window in front of the cars to facilitate this. The pieces produced by both related to these experiences, and they were the top two finishers, so I guess each played it right.

Although I usually don't agree 100% with the judging panels, over the five weeks I have agreed that the works on the short list for elimination each episode have been pretty bad. Mark's abstract grid (overhead city view concept) was inoffensive, but dull. Ryan's triptych self portrait behind the wheel looked like a rush job from a hack artist. Jamie Lynn (who would be sent home) made something that looked like a high school art project. Like Judith a few weeks ago, her attitude seemed to be that she had more or less given up with this piece, and seemed ready to go home.


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