In a recent post, we noted that we’d love to see TV shows about the art world with a bit more substance than Bravo’s fun-but-soul-killing Gallery Girls — you know, ones like Bravo’s other reality series, Work of Art. Well, so much for that, because Gallerist is reporting that Work of Art has been canceled. “I feel like the show had something to say about the art world,” Dan Cutforth of Magical Elves, the company that produces the competition show, told the blog. “I feel like there’s a slow upswing right now in interest in art and I think that what we set out to do with the show was make art feel accessible, feel not like it was part of an elitist world or in some unobtainable ivory tower.”
Work of Art‘s demise and Cutforth’s comments come at an interesting moment. Gallery Girls just aired its second episode last night (it involved an Upper East Sider venturing into Brooklyn, which looked even more traumatic in real life than it has been for the characters on Gossip Girl), and it’s generated no shortage of debate in the media over how the art world is represented. The publicity hasn’t translated to big viewership numbers yet, but after two seasons, Work of Art‘s most recent finale was only about 200,000 viewers ahead of Gallery Girls‘ series premiere. Aside from making us wonder whether there was only room for one reality show about art on Bravo, this has got us thinking about the way Cutforth described his series. It’s disappointing to see the network kill a show that — for all that its artificial setting, extreme characters, and questionable challenges weren’t exactly conducive to producing generation-defining masterpieces — actually focused on the process of making art just after debuting one that spotlights the same “elitist world” the Work of Art producer sought to avoid.