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.