Tonight is the premiere of Sarah Jessica Parker’s new Bravo series, ‘Work of Art: The Next Great Artist,’ and critics across the country have…quelle shock…been asking the same question as us: does Miss Sex and the City know anything about art? She grew up going to museums and appreciating the paintings, but willingly, seriously, artfully (checking out the lighting) says, “I don’t know anything about art.”
Natch. Does that matter, though? It should, but in this case it probably doesn’t. TV fans already know this show is a knock-off of the hits ‘Top Chef’ and ‘Project Runway’ with executive producer Parker serving as the draw. Instead of a fashion show at Bryant Park, though, the top prize here is $100,000 and a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum. Does the formula transfer to the art world? Are we talking TV masterpiece?
LA Times art critic Christopher Knight described the opening episode as “spinning off its axis before getting to the 10-minute mark.” But just as every painting is open to interpretation and differing opinions, the same applies to this series. “I wouldn’t have predicted this, but it turns out that it’s a whole lot more fun to watch people paint on deadline than it is to watch them make deadline clothing (“Project Runway”) or cook deadline food (“Top Chef”),” wrote the Washington Post’s TV critic Hank Stuever.
The best take on the show thus far came from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s art critic, Mary Louise Schumacher, who wrote that “art is not like a frock or foie gras” and criticized the muzzling of two-time Pulitzer Prize-nominated art critic-turned-TV judge Jerry Saltz, but added, “With all of that said, there are some things about “Work of Art” that will keep me tuning in.” Us, too.