The fact that I didn’t have cable growing up in the ’80s didn’t stop MTV from pervading my world with its panache. A cultural tastemaker of adolescent life, its innovative offerings capped by VJs and exclusive music news underlined its creative energy and palpable effervescence. These days, desperate to build a similar profile in the minds of Millennials, the network plans to juxtapose episodes of Jersey Shore and I Just Want My Pants Back with its revolutionary roots by bringing back Art Breaks.
First aired nearly three decades ago, the commercial-like series featured then-emerging artists including Doug Aitken, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Richard Prince. This month, MTV unveils a contemporary version of the project featuring artists hand-picked by MoMA PS1 and Creative Time that will air on its global station, website, Facebook, and Tumblr throughout the remainder of the year, reaching some six hundred million viewers. The first five spots will showcase Rashaad Newsome, Mickalene Thomas, Tala Madani, Jani Ruscica and Mads Lynnerup. These up-and-comers represent an eclectic, pop-culture-loving bunch, but only time will tell if their gusto is enough to captivate an audience that’s nearly impossible to charm.