Sometimes you just want to watch someone make something cool. For such times, here are three TV shows about people building, crafting, restoring, and/or otherwise working with things.
I could watch people blow glass for hours. Scratch that; I have watched people blow glass for hours. No matter how much I understand how mechanics and chemistry of the process, I still look at people doing this and think “Oh this is sorcery.” They shape molten color into art! That’s so nifty. In this Canadian series, a group of 10 blowers compete each season, with one being eliminated each week until a champion emerges. If you’re prepared to have strong opinions on opposing glass artworks, then check this out.
LEGOs are quite possibly the platonic ideal of a toy. Within the framework of thousands of different pieces are literally endless potential outcomes. It is a vector for pure imagination. LEGO is good. LEGO is life. This is a show entirely about people who have become architectural luminaries among LEGO, competing to build the best structures. I could never have imagined anything like this while playing with my knights and pirates sets as a lad.
The Repair Shop
Let’s take a break from competition-focused shows for something purely constructive — something you can put on the TV if you simply want to relax in the balm of watching things be cleaned, fixed, polished, brightened, and finished. This British series focuses on a team of skilled artisans who restore antiques. Each episode consists of playing out the incredibly simple formula of “Oh no, look at how beaten up that telescope/toy/chair is! Surely they can’t fix that? No wait, they could! Phew.” It works every time.
Bobby Wilson Combats Indigenous Stereotypes Through Humor
The artist-performer’s career undulates, ever so gracefully, across multiple mediums and registers of generational pain, healing laughter, and Indigenous joy.
Rare 19th-Century Silhouette Album’s Secrets Unlocked
Traveling portrait artist William Bache’s album depicts famous figures like Thomas Jefferson as well as people whose identity was previously unknown.
Nevada Museum of Art Presents Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity
For the first time in nearly 60 years, the innovative yet under-recognized artist is the subject of a retrospective exhibition. On view in Reno, Nevada.
Artists Show What They Can Do With a Google Phone’s Camera
Works by 20 photographers are now on view in Manhattan for the seventh season and 100th project coming out of the Google Creator Labs.
Met Museum Kicked Me Out for Praying to My Ancestral Gods
My danced prayer to looted Cambodian antiquities was too much for the New York museum.
The Public Theater in NYC Presents Plays for the Plague Year
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’s theatrical concert chronicles the 2020 lockdown and the hope and perseverance that emerged from it.
A Museum Guard’s Ode to the Healing Power of Art
In All the Beauty in the World, Patrick Bringley revisits the many ways that art meets life, and life art, and how death is often the bridge between them.
UK Extends Export Ban on Coveted “Portrait of Omai”
London’s National Portrait Gallery was given a few months to acquire the work, which depicts the first Polynesian visitor to the UK.
Mondays at Pratt Institute: Weekly Openings of Work by Graduating Artists
Free and open to the public, Pratt Shows celebrate the school’s graduating students. MFA and BFA work on view this spring in Brooklyn, New York.
The Sculptor Making Art With Loved Ones’ Ashes
Inspired by the three-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, Julian Stair’s exhibition honors the lives of eight people with cinerary jars.
Art Institute of Chicago Under Scrutiny Over Sacred Nepali Necklace
The 17th-century object remains on display at the Chicago museum despite Nepal’s calls for repatriation.
LSU School of Art Grants Highest MFA Stipends in the Southern US
With funded assistantships, full tuition waivers, and generous stipends, Louisiana State University helps students lay the groundwork for a successful lifelong art practice.
Art Problems: How Do I Get a Public Art Commission?
Want to leave a mark on your city or town, but don’t know where to start? Paddy Johnson has some tips.
Rose B. Simpson Embeds Ancestral Histories in Clay
She has taken clay and used it to recall its ancestral roots in Pueblo culture and address the present history of postcolonial recovery and ongoing trauma.