My wife and daughter have been trying to pull me into their American Idol viewing. I have resisted but am weakening, mostly because I like David Cook. I have however watched various episodes of reality shows dealing with creative competition. These have included fashion design, cooking, and interior design. Mostly I find it interesting to see how creative people deal with often ridiculous tests and restrictions.

I do think though that these shows have heightened the appreciation for the various creative endeavors that they feature. It strikes me that no show has dealt with photography or any two-dimensional visual art. I could easily see a show where photographers are given assignments and restrictions on time equipment, method, etc and then evaluated for their problem solving and creativity. Is there just no interest in this kind of competition or is this a feasible idea? Would such a show heighten the appreciation by the public in general for the medium or diminish it in some way?

I tend to think that any coverage would be beneficial. Ask most people to name a famous photographer and other than Ansel Adams, most would be stumped. Of course it’s probably worse for other mediums. But since most people can name famous painters, authors, singers, actors, and a cloth designer or two, maybe photography would benefit from some pop culture.



5 thoughts on “Should there be a visual arts reality show?

  1. Unfortunately, if there were an Idol type show for 2D media artists, they’d be judged on their “hotness” rather than the quality of their work, anyway. As such, I’m relieved there’s no such show (yet.)

  2. I like David Cook also! 🙂 Actually I am wondering if the top 4 will be all guys?

    Anyway, there is a reality show on fashion photographers on MTV I think. I tuned in once for about 5 minutes and it didn’t take long to decide it just wasn’t worth the time.

    The thing is – once you start putting competition on something, judging, etc – you begin to form a fairly restrictive definition of what is good for that particular event. I know of a lot of musical artists that probably wouldn’t do well on American Idol – but their talent is exceptional. The same happens in visual art competitions as well – just look at camera club judging.

  3. Lana, you are right that there is a chance that artists would be judged on appearanc. It may depend on the audience and whether it was a popular vote or a panel vote. Judging even on the merits of the work would be problematic as Mark says. It is all so subjective. What it does do that I think could be positive though is create buzz and dialogue and really offer a glimpse into the creative process of the people involved.

  4. Paul; Yes, that’s the other problem…subjectivity. I’m with you, though–I wish there was more media attention garnered for such things.

  5. I don’t think I would be volunteering to go on a reality-based competition for artists. I’m afraid the world is full of younger and more beautiful artists. I’ll settle for just submitting my work to magazines without having to show my face.

    I watch American Idol on and off. I like the singing. I can’t carry a tune so I’m impressed by all of the ones that make it through.

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