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Bravo Cancels ‘Work of Art’

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Simon de Pury advises a contestant on how to art it all up, artsy style

According to a report yesterday on Gallerist NY (the art “vertical” of the New York Observer)  Bravo has decided not to renew the strangely compelling visual art reality competition show Work of Art for a third season. The show pitted aspiring visual artists against each other in Project Runway/Top Chef style timed competitions to create original works of art with results that were often terrible, sometimes surprisingly good, but at least oftentimes provided the purely prurient interest of rampant nude self-portraiture from the “hot” contestants.

As Dan Duray’s write up on Gallerist points out the show had “a premise that focused on outsiders,” in that the contestants were often right out of art school, or at least very early in their careers, and oftentimes came from towns far away from the New York or Los Angeles art worlds, but the show also involved the participation of a lot of big time art world insiders. Crazy person/big time art dealer Simone de Pury (who has also done a bunch of hilarious art world send ups with Stephen Colbert) and respected art critic Jerry Saltz were both part of the regular judging panel.

Magical Elves, the company which produced the show, along with Top Chef and the early, good seasons of Project Runway, hopes they can find a home for the show on another network, much as they did when they successfully moved Project Greenlight from HBO to Bravo. In a phone interview with Gallerist, Dan Cutforth of Magical Elves stressed the essentially democratic, populist message of the show, saying “I think that what we set out to do with the show was make art feel accessible, feel not like it was part of an elitist world or in some unobtainable ivory tower. We really tried to make it clear that art is purely subjective and everyone has their own opinions about it. I think that’s still true and that that’s a valuable message.”

Whatever you think about the show’s approach to the art world, it was certainly a hell of a lot better than Gallery Girls.

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