Some of the artworld twitterers I follow were recently mentioning a new reality TV show about gallerinas, which sounds absolutely thrilling. But I had been discussing the possibility of another spin-off with a friend suffering from #academentia PTSD: a "Starcurator" contest similar to The Apprentice but way more chic, insiderish, elitist, glamorous, cosmopolitan and well, cooler. Following is our modest proposal.
Andy Cohen, are you listening? Because I have an idea for your next BRAVO art-related reality TV show. Yes, Work of Art is provocative and gets the twitterati worked up. But what about looking at this from the OTHER side? Do you read E-FLUX, artforumdiary? It arguably rivals Andre Leon Talley's column in VOGUE and The New York Times Style section. The Starcurators are where it's at! Glamorous and globe-trotting, they smoke cigars with Thomas Krens in Venetian Palazzos, loiter in hot tubs created by artists in Japan, stay in 5-star hotels or stylish apartments, organize back to the land trips to "exotic" locales where brand-name artists create site-specific projects, and rack up frequent flier miles and 5-star restaurant tips for their friends.
Like the star-artists they promote, they live BETWEEN places, for example, STARCURATOR X, lives between New York, Ulan Bator, and Cleveland. They move around the world (or the provincial allegedly global or glocal artworld) with the same collectors, gallerists, critics, museum bigwigs, and cosmopolitan artists, curating shows about the glocal, immigration, displacement, and urbanization. They travel via the business class preferred boarding lane, with multiple passports. Their innumerable biennials thematizing poverty and displacement may be supported by local business and (often corrupt) governments for their tourist boosting and gentrification potential.
This has all of the elements of a fabulous reality TV show. As you have done in the past, Andy, you may create a brilliant melange of other reality TV formats to create an exciting and riveting new program. For example:
Top Chef and Bizarre Foods - watch starcurators eat meals served by Rikrit Tiravanja and Ferran Adria in a Palapa somewhere in Costa Rica!
The Rachel Zoe Project
- watch Starcurators select clothes loaned to them by art collector Miuccia Prada! Or, watch Starcurators buy Longchamp travel totes at Duty Free in Cape Town!
-watch Starcurators rephrase the same project in a new way, and find the money to do it in less than 3 months!
-watch Starcurators hold 4 visiting professor positions, 1 adjunct curator post, at least one "director" of a biennial project, and direct a museum - at once!
- watch Starcurators go on a guided tour of a Rio de Janeiro favela with billionaire museum trustees!
-watch starcurators engage in a months-long dispute about who has the "right" to curate non-Western artists only instead of doing this in theory-heavy periodicals, make then engage in a challenge face-to-face!
-watch Starcurators attempt to live on lukewarm paninis, cold Illy lattes, Champagne, Chinese cigarettes, and no sleep for 4 days in a bienale (the women's challenge: doing this in Manolos); note: you can go for glamorous luxury destinations like Venice or more off the beaten track locales like San Juan (if they ever revive their Poly-Graphic Triennial)
- force Starcurators to work with locally-based artists (ie. not Kara Walker, Emily Jacir, Dan Perjovschi, or William Kentridge)
-force Starcurators to sit through one of Hans Ulrich Obrist's marathon Hugo Chavez/Bernie Saunders/Fidel Castro-length interviews/lectures/events/performances
-appoint artists from the "developing" world to select the Starcurators in an exciting reversal!
-force Starcurators to live like the locals instead of staying at swank 5-star or faux minimalist-spa-sustainable living hotels in "developing" nations where alternative biennials are held
-force Starcurators to organize shows around themes NOT related to globalization, migration, urban experiences, or Relational Aesthetics
-appoint resentful overworked overeducated academics who make a living teaching as judges (but not those that are also Starcurators, an important distinction)
-appoint famous collectors/gallerists from New York City to select the Starcurators
-appoint critics based in New York City as judges
-appoint auctioneers as judges
-Starcurator is hired by billionaire collector, in exchange they get to act as consultant to them with paid trips to buy works
-maybe you can reprise your Brooklyn Museum tie-in and get Pollock-Krasner or McCarthur to give the Starcurator a grant or ask Bellagio to grant them a residency
-Starcurator recieves a work of art by emerging artist they chose only if you can organize a tie-in to get MoMA or another museum to purchase one as well, so that the market-value goes up
-apartment or home in "exotic" location of Starcurator's choice (exception: New York)
-"Visiting Professor" position at Curatorial Studies/Contemporary Theory program which entails teaching one seminar a year with no committee work or advising, a huge salary, and the ability to fly in for a few weeks a year while living in an "exotic" location of their choice for the rest of the year
-Starcurator receives a wardrobe and nerdy glasses by a designer such as Prada; or (in the rare case that the winner does not need glasses) a wardrobe by Jill Sander, Miyake, or Marc Jacobs