Opinion

There’s a New Art Reality TV Show for Us to Hatewatch [UPDATED]

From the 'Art Breaker$' trailer (screenshot via YouTube)
From the ‘Art Breaker$’ trailer (screenshot via YouTube)

Just when you thought art-related reality TV programming couldn’t get any worse … it has! In October, Ovation TV will debut Art Breaker$ (yes, that dollar sign is real), a series devoted to the adventures of one Miller Gaffney and Carol Lee Brosseau — BFFs since they were 18, graduates of Sotheby’s Institute, and “powerhouse dealers.” Or, as they identify themselves in the trailer, “the top art advisors in the country!” Who knew?

The show promises to follow Gaffney and Brosseau — blondes with slight southern accents who can take a sidewalk in stilettos — as they tackle “some of their most challenging assignments.” Assignments like finding an artist to make an original work inspired by Mario Lopez’s (aka AC Slater from Saved by the Bell’s) tequila brand … for Mario Lopez. Yes, that plot line is real.

Poor Lopez gets sound-bited into oblivion in the trailer, where he says, “Basically, I want art … I want it to represent culture.” Then again, everything in the trailer sounds like gallerina nails scraping an appropriated chalkboard, not least a montage of these phrases, which come swiftly one after the other: “I’ve been thinking outside the box” / “That’s coooool” / “Getting testy” / “I love it” / “I love that” / “Perfection, superb, magnifique.” Illogical clips also abound, like the gratuitous shot of the Guggenheim (art!) or the man who stands in a studio full of truly terrible, truly too large paintings and says, “All the drawings you see is Andy Warhol.”

There’s also the issue of the “MFAs” the women supposedly hold from Sotheby’s Institute; as Brian Boucher points out, the institute does not appear to have any MFA-granting programs. And of course I have no idea what Art Breaker$ means, or what, for that matter, plain old “art breakers” might mean, besides … people who break art? (Does the show feature guest advisors?)

But lest I get too catty, it’s good to remember: we all need a solid hatewatch once in a while. And let’s be honest: judging Gaffney and Brosseau for the absurdly tacky, monied art world they inhabit will let us feel better about the only slightly less absurd one that we do.

Update, 9/3, 7:25pm ET: A representative of Ovation TV wrote to tell me that the version of the trailer I watched, above, is “outdated” — they’ve changed the MFAs from Sotheby’s to “Masters,” and the proclamation about being “the top art advisors in the country” appears to have been cut. I’m also told that the title of the show is simply Art Breakers. “There’s no $ in the official title, that’s just the show logo,” the rep writes. The updated trailer is below:

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