The New York Times dared to brave the auditions for Bravo's newest foray into, well, giving existentialists like big-dick-owning/hating Jean-Paul Sartre more credence: a reality competition featuring artists making art. What'd they find? Fish, in a neon-lit, jewel-encrusted barrel.

For starters: imagine everything you think would show up at this audition. Now, close your eyes and see it in your mind. Open them.

A ghoulish portrait of a face that appeared to be Michael Jackson's melded with Elvis's; a crazily beaded mannequin torso with the sparkly word "GIRL" attached like a tiara to the top of its head; a Caravaggio-esque painting of St. Sebastian, skewered and suffering; a photo-realistic canvas so large it arrived on a truck. At the corner of Horatio and Hudson Streets one artist was slowing traffic considerably as he applied bright blue swirly paint to the body of a topless woman who was wearing only a flesh-colored thong.

Alas, poor Horatio. Also: watch the art/reality show cliches meet in the middle.


Reality Show Stereotype: The Dad Who's Trying To Revitalize His Dreams.
Art World Stereotypes: Gigantic Sissy, Afraid of Outdoors, Making a Collage Out of Something Ridiculous....Like Gum Wrappers.

Second in line, after arriving at 1 in the morning on a flight from Fort Myers, Fla., was Jeffrey Scott Lewis, a 48-year-old collagist, single father and former store-window designer who brought along a colorful, mosaiclike work he had made from gum wrappers. (He quit smoking in February and described gum as his "new best friend.") "I've wanted to be on a reality show since the first time I saw ‘Survivor' - but without the bug bites and stuff," Mr. Lewis said.

And who's going to be in charge of this thing? Who will look after the artists? Who will be the Tim Gunn of this thing? They're not saying, except for this charmer trotted out:


The lone judge brought out for interviews was Simon de Pury, chairman of the auction house Phillips de Pury. He said that he did not hesitate when asked to become involved, and that his hope for the program was that it would help penetrate the air of "hermetic inapproachability" surrounding contemporary art.

Well, as far as I've seen, pretty much anybody can already get into the contemporary art racket these days.

As far as the "hermetic inapproachability" surrounding the public's views and interactions with contemporary art? Well, for one thing, it's pretty much encapsulated by simply using that phrase. And for another, this show's going to make it a hell of a lot worse.

Hundreds Try Out for Art-World Reality Show [NYT]