ARTINFO arose this morning and immediately sensed that something was different. The time, we felt deep within our bones, had come for great rejoicing. It seemed somehow that Christmas had arrived early. The sun's chariot bounded, fetter-free, into the sky. Coffee was hotter. On the subway, a pregnant lady gave us her seat. And why, you ask? Network officials have officially okayed a second season of Bravo's reality television show "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist." All was right with the world, and our mind brimmed with visions of the show's former judges and contestants dancing their way through the streets of a Busby Berkeley Chelsea, as cartoon birds lift Jerry Saltz into the air and fragrant breezes tousle Bill Powers's pompadour.
We must admit, however, that we feel sort of bad for Abdi Farah, who only got to be the world's great artist for three months before Bravo was chomping at the bit to replace him. (Fine, Farah did get to see his drawing "Baptism" sell for $20,000, double its reserve price at the auction house of first-season judge Simon de Pury, originator of aristocratic hip hop, or aristohop.)
While the reality-redefining network has greenlighted season two of the art show — with the same production combine, Magic Elves and Sarah Jessica Parker's Pretty Matches, according to New York magazine — almost all other details remain hazy. The second round of televised creative crits will air sometime in 2011, and will probably feature more than 10 episodes. No news on whether the judges will be returning. (Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!)
Although Bravo has just announced these happy tidings, the "Work of Art" team held open casting calls in September, riding, no doubt, on the wave of the first season's popularity. (An episode of the show averaged 1.12 million viewers, with 1.48 tuning in for the season finale, TV Guide reports.) Awaiting those hopeful artists who rolled up with their portfolios was a 23-page legal contract and application containing questions including, "What is the most scandalous thing you have done in your life as an artist?" and "Have you ever been convicted of any crime of reckless or drunk driving?"
They even threw in a clause in legalese just for us. Would-be contestants were asked to swear: "I further understand that my appearance, depiction, and/or portrayal in and in connection with the Program or otherwise, and my actions and the actions of others displayed in the and in connection with the Program or otherwise, may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature, may expose me to public ridicule and humiliation or condemnation." Let the games begin.
UPDATE: A source (OK, you got us, a commenter on ARTINFO's Facebook page who goes by A Tomic Elroy) offered up a few choice anecdotes from his "Work of Art" audition, mentioning that Simon de Pury and China Chow conducted his second-round interview. Is this a sign that the Swiss auctioneer and the eccentrically-garbed socialite will be returning to the judging panel for season two? Adding to the credibility of Elroy's story is the fact that he did a spot-on de Pury impersonation, writing, "Simon did say 'Ileek your artiste name,' which was kinda cool."
To follow the giddy discussion of the show's triumphant return, visit our Facebook page.