Will Work of Art Overcome Elitist Stigma?

Work of Art, Bravo's new reality show, pits up-and-coming artists against each other — just like in the real world.

In the Sarah Jessica Parker-produced series, 14 designers who work in various mediums, compete for the chance to win a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum and $100,000 cash. Each week, a panel of judges, including New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz and British model-actress China Chow (who's also the show's host), critique the work and eliminate one artist.

But this is no stuffy museum piece, says Simon de Pury, an art auctioneer and Work of Art's mentor. "I think everybody loves art, and yet there is this perception that art is elitist and for people with a lot of money, but it's not at all," he says. "In a very entertaining, fun way, [Work of Art] shows you what it is to be an artist and create a work of art, because normally you never see an artist at work."

De Pury also says that the show gives contestants enough liberty in the challenges to express his or her individuality. "I think art requires a great deal of freedom," he says. "It can be traditional painting, sculpture, installation art, photography, all sorts of aspects enter into it. ... That's the luxury of being an artist."

Work of Art premieres Thursday at 11/10c on Bravo.

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