Work of Art: Season 2, Episode 7

It’s been a little while since we lost The Sucklord, and to be honest we needed the time to mourn. Did the judges intentionally eliminate the male contestants in decreasing order of attractiveness? Will Stickergate be forgiven and forgotten? Will SJP show up for no reason, again? Now that we’ve put ourselves back together, it’s time for another episode of the worst/best reality TV show ever!

I will not dignify the “Fiat challenge” introduction with any sort of critique except to say that I thought we were beyond this crap…

I can’t resist; it’s that bad! First of all, they need to incorporate at least one piece of the car — be it a screw or a hood. I wonder if anyone asked for a whole car. The only redeeming moment from this scene is seeing all of the parts methodically arranged on the floor into unnatural scientific rows. Had they not been presented to the artestants that way initially, I would have expected someone to just do that as his or her piece. I did something similar several years ago with a shotgun, so I’m a little biased:

I am not looking forward to the judges pointing out how one contestant really, “felt the message of the Fiat 500” or whatever. Ugh…what the fuck!

Sarah J rightly points out that she’s a painter, so…what the balls is she suppose to do with some car parts? The artestants all somehow come up with interesting car-related stories (accidents, late night sex romps, etc.), so I will not fault them. Who cares about cars anyway, much less a Fiat? Alls I know about Fiat is they are coming to America, and Jennifer Lopez is their ambassador for some reason. You know, because she’s Italian. Who really knows? Let’s just, you know, tear apart some car parts and glue shit together. Art!

I’m continually impressed by the lengths that some of these artestants go to, though. Dusty covers his face in a silicone mold of some sort. He can’t see, talk, or presumably have children ever again. How did he write, “come get me in 7 minutes” if he couldn’t see, I wondered? He must have excellent touch memory. He foolishly relies on Kymia to remember to come save him. Clearly she’s a flake.

Without a stitch of sarcasm or irony, Lola admits to being a witch. Not as in, “oh that skank? she a witch bitch.” A witch. True Blood-style. Apparently her grandmother taught her various unnamed spells and potions over the years. Puns aside, she truly is the worst. She’s really the only one to genuinely act competitively on this show. It’s good to hear she’s a “good” witch, because Simone de Pury basically shuts her down during his crit. Increasingly, I find his opinions halfway between unhelpful and oblique. Maybe he’s simply very busy and can’t commit much thought to all this.

The Winners

Sarah J: This is easily the most realized piece, by far. It benefits from — rather than is hampered by — her self-proclaimed allegiance to painting. She clearly went for it and came out with something great. For a challenge so obviously rooted in the tradition of the Readymade, I found it odd that that was never mentioned, especially with regard to this muffler (carbonic converter?) + foam sculpture. Couldn’t you see this from Duchamp? I guess if I had to nitpick, it’s a little “obvious,” but still, the presence, strangeness, and playfulness are all great. Please do not send me hate mail (do send me hate mail, in all seriousness), but I would totally buy this or recommend it for buying. Jerry rightly points out that she, “let the material” inform her process. AND SHE WINS!

Sarah K: Not that I would necessarily rank them, but Sarah K’s splayed-out car seat mixed media piece is not far behind Sarah J’s. This piece is perhaps the more coherent and “clean” of the two, although again I’m not sure a comparison matters. I like the dichotomy of the two seats. I like that it isn’t immediately apparent what they are. Are they giant fabric violins? Are they tents? They’re a little ambiguous, yet they’re structured and normalized in a pleasant way. Maybe it’s the art adviser in me, but they also benefit from being very, “houseable.” Ahh, that term…to have to worry only about whether something will fit in your house or not. Lastly, I don’t get the connection to her sad story at all, but that’s completely irrelevant given how successful this piece is given all of the reasons above.

The Losers

Lola: This piece, if we’re to assume it’s indeed one thing, it is all over the place. I have little to add to Young’s earlier and very cogent remark that, “Lola’s piece doesn’t work for me. Once again I think she gets lost in her process. Lola just needs to mature as an artist so that she doesn’t have to show everything that she’s done.” Her work needs work, and she needs to get off this show to do it.

Kymia: I don’t really dislike this lightbox/kaleidoscope thing, but it’s simply not fully realized. It is exactly the sort of thing you would expect to see in a mid-semester studio art critique, which is to say there are good ideas but poor execution, probably due to a combination of lack of time and skill with this particular process. I don’t really fault Kymia, though she does seem to be struggling in more ways than one. Still, I can’t help but wonder whether part of the reason why she’s on the bottom is because…wait for it…it’s impossible to see the Fiat!

Michelle: Finally, someone is taking my advice to make a giant red object, when all else fails! Sadly, it lands Michelle in the bottom. It’s cartoony and sort of disgusting in a way. Why does it look so papercrafty? Because that’s here thing? What is the point of that? Why is there just a giant car bumper? It’s not the worst? Jerry reminds us that Michelle’s previously discussed traumatic experience with a car accident (and her subsequent need for medical attention, natch) is completely absent, which is on some level bizarre but in many ways kind of troubling. Did she think that would be seen as too obvious? Did the Fiat cronies forbid them from mentioning car accidents so vividly? THE LOSER!

Stay tuned for next week, when we finally see if Jeannie Greenberg Rohatyn’s hair has decided to be long or short (Spoiler alert: it’s still unclear)!

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