In the past few years, Bravo has produced a mixed bag of reality content, gaining credibility with shows like “Project Runway” and “Top Chef” that actually succeeded in mass marketing two cultural categories. But then came the wave of housewives, Kathy Griffins, and NYC prep school kids, that took the channel to a lowbrow level — albeit it, one that we love. Bravo may now be looking to class things up again, by working with the ultimate in highbrow—the art world. The network is casting for a reality game show for artists, and is tapping major sources like the Art Institute of Chicago and reputable Manhattan galleries for promising students. In a Bravo press release, the basic (but familiar) outline is explained:
In each episode of the series, contestants will create unique pieces highlighting art’s role in everyday life, while they compete and create in a range of disciplines including sculpture, painting, photography and industrial design (to name a few). In working beyond their preferred mediums, artists will have to adapt quickly in order to succeed. Completed works of art will be appraised by a panel of top art world figures including fellow artists, gallerists, collectors, curators and critics. The finalists’ work will be showcased in a nation-wide museum tour.
PSFK.com brings up a good point about the show’s inherent dilemma that will surely plague many a pop culture studies major. Does exploiting the production of art for mass entertainment (and, in turn, big studio dollars) take away from its value? Or is the art world’s involvement with Hollywood and lowbrow forms like reality TV its best option for survival? In the words of Bravo, “you decide.” [PSFK]