Reactor

A Talk Show About Art

by Jillian Steinhauer on July 23, 2014

(Screenshot via YouTube)

(Screenshot via YouTube)

For its first original web series, Ovation TV has launched a talk show about art called Touching the Art. And why not? With people lining up for hours to get into art exhibitions, celebrities becoming artists, and curators becoming celebrities, there’s plenty to talk about. Each episode in the series features three female (always female!) art-world guests answering art-related questions posed by comedian, artist, and host Casey Jane Ellison.

It’s a decently strong setup, and in the first episode, embedded below, Ellison offers a great premise for the show: “I’m Casey Jane Ellison, and this is Touching the Art, where we discuss the art world’s least-favorite subject: art.” Unfortunately, they mostly don’t talk about art; they just talk about the art world. Which would also be fine — if far more insider-y than intended — except Ellison falls flat. Her host personality is meant as “a character who would serve as an intermediary between the art world and the viewer, mixing sincerity with skepticism,” according to press materials, but her awkward timing, bland delivery, and unfunny writing get the best of her.

You know who is funny, though? Artist Catherine Opie. When art reporter Jori Finkel says James Franco is “a son of Warhol,” Opie pipes up with, “Oh, that’d be a really good video — maybe we can get Matthew Barney to, like, birth Franco out of the vagina of Warhol,” before pantomiming and trying to coax out “baby Franco” in a high-pitched voice. Opie’s responses are the highlights of Touching the Art’s nearly seven-minute first episode. You can watch the whole thing below.

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  • Barb

    Horrible presentation.

  • http://www.davidlamorte.com David LaMorte

    This is a joke right? I’m not convinced Casey Jane Elison isn’t just a character. I’ve never seen a show where the host seems mad at me for watching.

  • morecoffee

    Oh no…host is awful!!! How could that happen?? If they wanted a comedienne, there are so many better ones, but there are some FUNNY women in the art world, too. Give me Amy Sillman – smart, funny, quick.

  • tmh

    This show just reinforces/justifies why most of the world feels contemporary art is a waste of time. Shame on you Ovation for presenting such an inane excuse for a show, this could have been done so well.

  • kyle

    Geez, lighten up people. I think this was a refreshing and funny take on the overly-serious nature of the art world, while still being able to talk about art.

    • Seanán Kerr

      The art world isn’t “overly-serious” it’s overly-pretentious, as this video show in spades.

  • Celeste

    oh god the host is terrible, which is unfortunate because I think this is an interesting idea. Also, I want to by Catherine Opie’s best friend.

  • Michael

    Ovation – Your host is not engaging, entertaining, “arch,” or hip. She’s insufferable. Won’t be watching.

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