The deadbeat artist. The streetside genius. The greedy gallerist and vacuous collector. Spend much time in the often elite and mystifying art world, and you’re bound to discover some truth in each stereotype. But if you’d rather not, just watch Artistically Challenged, a comedic new “television series” that launched July 1 on Instagram.
Considering that it takes just two minutes to watch all eight of the already released episodes, it’s all too easy to spoil the show by saying much more. Essentially, an obscure New York artist named Nick tells a small lie that catapults him into the spotlight overnight. He even edges out Banksy, whose fictional unmasking as a blubbering, middle-aged man feels a bit like that of the Great and Powerful Oz.
“[Nick] wants so badly to be a successful artist, but he has no idea how to make that happen. When he’s accepted into this ‘wonderful’ world that so many of us only get peeks at, he realizes what an insane place it is,” Sam Delmara, who created the series with fellow Tisch graduates Aleks Arcabascio and Jeremy Boros, told Hyperallergic. “We only broke the surface [of the art world] while writing this first season.”
Instagram Video has already been around for a year, but Artistically Challenged seems to be the platform’s first real series. The show was shot on a Canon 5D and required 25 crew members and more than 30 actors to complete. Delmara said they chose to release it on the app because of its accessibility.
“We felt like people would be excited about watching content on a platform they already use regularly rather than asking them to look for it elsewhere,” he said. “We also knew that it would be a really fun experiment since Instagram wasn’t necessarily ‘built’ for telling a story in this way. We would need to tailor the whole process to their format, which was a lot of fun.”
While it remains to be seen how the remaining 24 episodes play out, it’s definitely fun to watch. Each episode is tightly scripted and well-acted. And at 15 seconds long, you don’t have to feel guilty about watching too much television.
Here are all first nine episodes:
You can follow the Artistically Challenged series on Instagram: instagram.com/actheseries.