snarke (snarke) wrote,

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Art and Reality

There are a lot of 'reality' shows out there. The ones I like feature excellent people: people who are doing something that they excel at. "Project Runway," "Top Chef," and the like. It's even better if the challenges actually relate to the real-world (a)vocation involved. This is why I just haven't kept up with "The Amazing Race." The contestants spend a lot of time dealing with bizarre localized challenges, and trying to reach a destination under artificially constrained circumstances. I'm happier when a show is more like "You want to be an X? Here are things that an X should be able to do." (I should mention that, to my astonishment, "Who Wants to Be a Superhero" was one of these, believe it or not.)

So I definitely enjoyed the recent first season of "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist." This was a little different, though. With "Top Chef," I alternate between awe at how super-yummy something sounds, and making faces at the thought of having to eat a scallop, pan-seared with an arugula aiole or not. (Whatever the *$&% that is.) I occasionally have some idea what I would have made, if I could sew worth a bean, for "Project Runway." But while watching "Work of Art," I knew what I would have made for every challenge, and often felt I had a better idea that many of the contestants.

At the end of the show, they posted a link for people who wanted to try out for next season. I dropped my email address into the 'hat,' so to speak.

Today, I finally got a reply; a standard form letter saying "Here's what you have to do if you want to try out for Season 2." Fill out the application (13 pages, dozens of questions). Prepare a CDROM or DVD with JPEGs of your work. A printed portfolio with at least 20 images for review by the interviewers at the open call. And, last but very much not least; BRING all of the above with you when you show up for the initial audition. If you are considered non-sucky, you will be called back the following day, so make your travel plans accordingly.

Travel plans? Yes. To audition, one must present one's self bodily, to one of three audition sites. New York City. Chicago. Los Angeles.

And don't dither. L.A.: September 19. Chicago: Sept. 22. NYC: September 25.

Well, hell.

So *applying* to the show is going to cost me at least three days of work to prep the portfolio, plus $300-500 dollars in airfare. At least I have people I can stay with in Chicago or New York, and probably I could find somebody in L.A. as well. But that's a lot of money, and I'm not sure to what end.

Yes, there's a gigantic grand prize. It was $125,000 and a one-person show at the Brooklyn Museum for Season 1. But anybody who goes into one of these shows actually planning on winning is an idiot. You can't know how good your competitors are until you meet them, if then, and the challenges add enough chaos that there's still a lot of luck involved. If season 2 involved, for example, a challenge where we had to just flat-out draw something, I'd be in serious trouble.

So why would I spend this kind of money in order to have a chance of being on the show? With "Top Chef," if somebody gets knocked out early, I the viewer still got to meet them. If they have, or open a restaurant, I'm going to want to go to it, because I feel like I know the chef. A designer on Project Runway gets great exposure. But Work of Art? Would I get a call from a local art agent or gallery? Do I want that?

I really don't know what the answer to that question is. But I'd better figure out out ASAP, or it will become moot.
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