I have to say I have been wondering how I was going to see the full 8 episodes of Art Star, the new Deitch reality show since it is airing on GALLERY HD (a channel available through your local satellite provider) and is a service I won’t be subscribing to any time soon. Thankfully the Museum of the Moving Image just announced that during the month of June the episodes can be viewed in their TV lounge. For a bit of TV this is admittedly more of a commute than I would like, but if the travel bug fails you, Deitch Projects tells me an Art Star DVD is in the works, so I guess this is how a lot of us will be viewing the show, (that is assuming it doesn’t come with its own limited edition vetrine*).
If you do decide to make the worthy trip out to the Museum to watch the show, you will have the chance to learn all about the cast of characters, which from the press release appear to be about what you would expect; a video artist, a photographer, a performance/Internet artist, and a painter. The remaining three roles, a retired social worker-turned-sculptor, an FIT undergraduate student, and an action stylist/puppeteer could very well have been cast for entertainment purposes, but who can say for sure without having seen the episodes…Oh who am I kidding on this one? The professional title of retired social-worker-turned sculptor has all the markings of good TV/bad product. Surprise me Deitch Projects, and make a good artist out of this dubbing.
Poorly labeled cast members included, these Deitch solo show lustfuls will be provided with the opportunity to meet with models of art super stardom such as Jeff Koons, Barbara Pollack, and Ryan McGuinness. The professional development aspect of the series would have it seem akin to the Bronx Museum’s artist training program Artist in the Market Place (albeit a very high budget program), but also serves as an interesting comparison at least in regards to application numbers. The open call to participate in ArtStar drew 400 hopefuls for 8 spots, as opposed to the 700 plus applicants the Bronx pulls in for its program which admits 18 per semester. Percentage wise we’re looking at an acceptance difference of only about 3% between the two programs which means that the success rate of artists admitted should be comparable. Given the level of unevenness of the museums shows, it seems unlikely that we are going to be looking at some truly great art in Art Star. Of course, the program really only has to come up with one good artist, for the show to warrant watching – well, that or be able to provide some sort of internal critique of the show (We can all thank Elyse Sewell of Americas Next Top Model for raising the bar on reality television, even if it was for a short three months).
Ultimately, if the show is to be successful, it will have to avoid the common art world inclination to, through pomp and circumstance, “rise above” the bourgeois. The press release casts some doubt about whether that will actually happen as it tells us, “…As the series unfolds, the realities of the art world subvert the “rules” of television and reveal surprising stories about creativity and growth” Yes, the art world once more ascends above the great unwashed masses to bring us great social critique and stories of personal growth and expression. Now this is the stuff artist dreams are made of…
*Matthew Barney limited edition DVDs are sold in editions of ten and come in their own custom made vetrines – self lubricating plastics included.