Work of Art’s Jerry Saltz: ‘I regret what this show’s doing to me’

Bravo’s new reality show Work of Art hasn’t been particularly well-received by the modern art scene, and that’s okay. We saw a glimpse of this with the contestant Judith, who scoffed that the show’s “commercial” aspects and forced herself to be eliminated in defiance. However, there are a couple of prominent art figures associated with the show, mainly Jerry Saltz, who is a panel judge on the show but an art critic for New York Magazine in real life. During his time on the show, he has been providing the recaps from his unique perspective.

“I don’t regret doing this show one bit. By this penultimate episode’s end, ” Saltz, second from the left in the picture above, shared in his recap of the most recent episode, “however, I regretted what this show was doing to me. I never imagined that narrowing down the remaining five artists to a final three on a reality TV show would this hard.”

While Saltz barely expressed any regret at Jaclyn’s dismissal from the show, the choice between Nicole and Peregrine was a very, very difficult one. “Either one could have stayed,” Saltz noted. “Yet I couldn’t bring myself to ax Nicole. Panicked, I argued against Abdi, saying one good piece shouldn’t spare him. Wiser voices and better angles intervened. Jeannie (who we sorely missed while she was in London, and her gallery won the “Best Booth” prize at the Frieze Art Fair – way to go!), and Bill Powers, who’s had a real feel for Abdi from the start, patiently pointed out that he had impressed the judges previously, that he really made this academic drawing come alive, and that I was being a dick. They were right. None of us had responded deeply to Nicole’s latest pieces. Her time was up.”

Saltz also shared a very interesting belief: that the artists on Work of Art have evolved into professional-level artists who create works that aren’t “that much better or worse” than art he sees in the Chelsea Gallery, though acknowledges he just might be going native. What do you think? Is the work becoming more authentic or is it still not worthy of being portrayed in a museum among other, established artists?

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