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In our book review from last week, we looked at the art-world comic book Adventures of Grossmalerman, the tale of a bad-boy German painter who gets an intervention from his gallerist and ends up stabbed in a group hug. This video episode of Grossmalerman lampoons the classic cliche of a studio visit: a standoffish critic takes one look at the artist’s latest canvas and pronounces it “Matisse with some porn thrown in.”

Grossmalerman’s favored critic, played by Kenny Mellman, is nail-bitingly reticent about his feelings on the work, stroking his chin and staring hard at the canvas, a huge picture of the business end of a threesome with some of the salient parts censored. When he finally makes his pronouncement, the painter is on the edge of his seat. Mellman compares the work negatively to Matisse, but Grossmalerman (played by directing artist Guy Richards Smit, also creator of the comic book) struggles to spin something positive out of it and ends up sucking up to the critic, a shade on the desperate side. Given the artist’s proclivities, though, it would’ve been pretty awesome to see a studio visit turn into a gore-splattered bloodbath and a critic’s (semi-metaphorical) corpse.

Bravo’s Work of Art tried to put the art world on TV, but I bet Grossmalerman could do a lot more to popularize contemporary art. I mean come on, an art world sitcom? A West Wing for a fake Gagosian-style gallery? The possibilities are endless! Now we just need to get some screenwriters. Is Josh Schwartz around? We could totally use some Gossip Girl-style drama. I volunteer our office as a set, as long as Blake Lively will stop by.

Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly, Kill Screen, Creators Project,...

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