Brooklyn Museum to give up wall space to reality TV winner

Brooklyn Museum eliminates Friday night hours
The Brooklyn Paper / Sarah Portlock

Some reality TV stars give up their dignity. The Brooklyn Museum will be giving up its wall space.

The borough’s premier cultural institution has agreed to host a solo show for the winner of Sarah Jessica Parker’s soon-to-air reality show, “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.”

On the Bravo network show, artists in various media will get down and dirty in a 13-week war to be crowned the next Picasso, Rodin or Haring — or at least “out-art” their quirky rivals.

The winner will get the solo show at the Eastern Parkway art Mecca — as well as $100,000 in prize money, producers said. The Brooklyn Museum’s involvement was announced during the show’s launch party last Wednesday.

The Brooklyn Museum wasn’t Bravo’s first stop in the network’s search for a New York museum to show off the winner’s work.

Producers also asked the New Museum to participate, but a spokesman for that museum, which is on the Bowery in Manhattan, said that those talks never got past the earliest stages last summer.

And Bravo did ask the Metropolitan Museum of Art to set aside some space for filming at the institution’s PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens, but that fell through.

The Brooklyn Museum’s role in a reality TV show follows a recent pop-cultural trend at the cash-strapped museum, including last year’s “Who Shot Rock & Roll” photo exhibit, a graffiti exhibit in 2006, and hosting a “Star Wars: The Magic of Myth” costume and prop tour in 2002.

That said, a museum spokeswoman said that the institution will not be paid for its participation in the show.

And Charles Desmarais, the museum’s deputy director for art, said that a small gallery on the fifth floor would be made available for the show’s winner.

“We’ll have the gallery opening coincide with the airing of the final episode,” Desmarais said. “The idea is to participate in the fun so our audience can enjoy some of the artist’s original works.”

Anticipating criticism that an urbane attraction like the Brooklyn Museum has no business hosting a reality show, Desmarais said that “The Next Great Artist” winner fits well within the museum’s mandate of “reaching an audience museums don’t ordinarily reach.”

“We feel totally on solid ground,” he said. “Museums have showcased juried exhibitions for years and we have the highest respect for the judges [in the show].

“People should lighten up,” he added. “This is not a major investment in either our space or reputation. It’s about having fun and engaging in contemporary art forms of all kinds.”