MTV’s The Exhibit Is All That’s Wrong With the Art World

SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers forward embrace however usually are not restricted to the winners of the sixth fee and the present’s grand prize.

MTV’s The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist is formally over, with the ultimate episode of the actuality present airing tonight, Friday, April 7. Despite the indisputable fact that the finale was just about two episodes value of fabric crammed into 46 minutes, it nonetheless fell flat with its overly contrived modifying and the judgement panel’s choice bias that unintentionally leaned into the very points the present was attempting to handle.

The sixth fee had the artists make a self-portrait, one thing that’s anticipated of any art-oriented actuality TV competitors. Baseera Khan smushed their face right into a scanner and made a five-by-five-foot collage of the enlarged printed scans. “I give a lot of myself through my art practice because my story is something that people need to hear,” Khan narrated over footage of them with their face towards the scanner glass for the ultimate piece that was titled after their solo presentation at the Brooklyn Museum, I Am an Archive (2021).

“I represent a large group of people who are unseen in the US — I feel like I’m carrying the weight of a lot of people, so my success is so many other peoples’ success,” they added.

I needed to side-eye that assertion … Yes, I agree that Khan’s story is one thing that must be heard — I might say that’s correct for many artists from traditionally disenfranchised teams. But I don’t actually recognize Khan’s self-appointment as the spokesperson for the marginalized, diasporic our bodies of America, particularly by means of the “mascot-ization” of their face and physique of their art work all through the present. If they need to make work about themselves, that’s wonderful and legitimate and I wholeheartedly endorse that. But it’s not essential to say that their success is different peoples’ success.

Frank Buffalo Hyde and a manufacturing employees member putting in his self-portrait fee in the gallery for the critique session

It was Frank Buffalo Hyde who lastly acquired his flowers for the final fee by means of a black self-portrait acknowledging the multitude of missed alternatives as a symptom of the routine marginalization of Indigenous individuals. What I actually get pleasure from about Hyde’s presence on the present and the exploration of his apply is his function not as the face of Indigenous survivance, however somewhat as a messenger and participant who needs everybody to acknowledge the bigger “Indigenous Renaissance” inside the scope of latest artwork. And one artist who stunned me this week was Clare Kambhu, who painted a diptych of the birthmark on her cheek and a chemical burn scar on her leg from a medical process, celebrating these “blemishes” and her optimistic relationship along with her physique somewhat than characterizing them as proof of trauma.

Following that, nevertheless, was the revelation that solely three of the competing artists had been invited to create a freestyle fee for the 2022 Hirshhorn Gala for consideration of the $100,000 grand prize and exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum. But not earlier than Kenny Schachter made an try at whistling in celebration of the competitors’s finish in sight, solely to fail spectacularly and muster up the sound of a goiter-stricken parakeet.

Misha Kahn explaining his freestyle fee idea to Melissa Chiu, Keith Rivers, and Kenny Schachter

Unsurprisingly, the three artists chosen had been Clare Kambhu, Baseera Khan, and Misha Kahn (who someway by no means received any of the competitions regardless of his unbelievable technical prowess throughout each materials doable). Of course, Hyde’s win was forgotten in gentle of the trio’s choice for the ultimate spherical, fairly actually demonstrating the factors he touched on in his self-portrait and the remainder of his work on the present. Yikes.

Kahn, Khan, and Kambhu (… 🥴) had two months to create their freestyle commissions to current at the Hirshhorn Gala honoring … Kaws, whom Melissa Chiu described as “a wonderful artist.” Tells you every thing you could find out about the present, actually. Kambhu caught to her conceptual examination of establishments, however wowed me with a supersized portray that includes meticulously rendered textural richness. Kahn, who merely refuses to be pinned down or put right into a field, truly unpacks the ache and liberation that accompany mentioned emotions in his digital actuality and conventional portray and sculpture duo. Khan 3D-printed their physique in fragments, emulating the pose of the Buddhist feminine deity Naro Dakini, whose sculptural rendition is in the Smithsonian Institute’s collection.

Victorious in the finish, securing the $100,000 prize and the solo exhibition, was Baseera Khan. “I cannot wait to open my exhibit at the Hirshhorn,” mentioned Khan, who had a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum nearly a 12 months in the past, thus bookending this contrived competitors.

At the finish of the day, Khan, Kahn, and Kambhu seemed to be the solely three actual opponents in the present, whereas Frank Buffalo Hyde, Jennifer Warren, Jamaal Barber, and Jillian Mayer felt typecast as solely facet characters. Even the manner the judges spoke about Jennifer Warren, of whom I personally have been essential all through, throughout the critique session of the self-portrait fee felt extraordinarily patronizing as they acknowledged she was a self-taught artist and harped on about how her confidence grew all through the season. It simply felt like Warren and the others by no means actually stood an opportunity, and looking out again, I had a unconscious hunch that it will both be Kambhu or Khan strolling away with the prize.

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