Fresh Paint
Friday, March 05, 2004
Today's Art Review
I don't know which is weirder, that the latest challenge for the job candidates on The Apprentice was to sell the work of unknown artists or that I was watching it. Art was actually not too bad, and the artists seemed as serious as me. But who are these artists and how did they get Donald Trump to publicize them on national TV? Not that I'm jealous or anything, but... listening to these too-good-looking types talk about art vs business and who gives a rats ass about any of it, talking about risk vs safety in art, each team's approach to selecting an artist and then maximizing profit is interesting to say the least, since they seem to be concepts discussed here and no place else on TV as far as I know, including Public Television:

Big art vs. little, public vs. private.

Freaky (one guy puts his DNA in his paintings -- not that freaky, though, since I understand that "artist" Thomas Kincaid does this too) vs. accessible.

Cheap vs (relatively) pricey.

One woman created sort of Julie Heffernan-like digital-images. One of the works was described as "Virgin outside the bedroom, whore inside." Also image of a cat that may have been dead or stuffed. Another woman had smallish paintings described as snapshots of her life. Kind of nice.

Another guy had large, abstract landscape-like works, somewhat like what I was working on a few years ago.

These extremely telegenic job seekers are people who have no idea what art is about, but a sense that the art world isn't about art anyway, but about selling art. So on to the opening.

An aside: is odd that one of the Queer Eye transformations had them transforming an artist and following him through the opening at his gallery. So what is it with art lately? Is it suddenly cool and trendy? And again, why do I know all about this stuff on TV anyway?

The abstract landscapes seemed to do well. We see a shot of a woman buying a painting for $2000, or maybe $4000, if it really happened at all, while over at the more cutting edge gallery they keep showing shots of a decimated eats table, which I'm not sure bodes well. Possibly a lot of people came for the feedbag but not to buy, a problem gallery-owners are quite, quite familiar with.

So... waiting now to see who does better. Talent or salesmanship? Love or cynicism? High vs. low risk?

The team that sold like $869.50 of the digital artist's work didn't like her work to start. The team that liked the artist's work sold over $13,000 worth. Donald Trump is ecstatic, because, like Chaucer, he now has a clear moral for us:

You'll never be successful if you try to sell something you don't love.

If my Middle-English were stronger, I would try to tell this tale in verse.

Anyway, here's the link to the artists:

NBC.com > The Apprentice > Artist Information

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