Bangs, Toggle Sweaters, and Kids

Episode 4: Bravotv.com's Assistant Editor was overwhelmed by all the surprises this week.

Before we get into all the arts and crafts and kids, this week's video joy came courtesy of the Extended Judges' Table. Were you a fan of Jerry's toggle sweater? Well you have Bill Powers to thank for that, because evidently Bill took Jerry shopping to help step up his style. Oh the things you learn off-screen. work-of-art-season-2-gallery-rate-the-wo

This week's challenge was full of surprises, much like Michelle's creepy peek-a-boo eye sculpture. First off -- KIDS! The artists were all paired with an aspiring mini-artist of their own and had to make a companion piece to their partner's work. Second, was it just me or were a lot of those kids' pieces really good? I'm no artist myself (although I do make stellar homemade greeting cards), so when I saw Zelda's colorful creation I was pretty impressed. Also call me crazy, but I enjoyed Kymia's partner's carrot on the beach watercolor (and Kymia's eerily awesome fairy tale interpretation of it). And then between China's bangs and SJP's appearance, I was completely overwhelmed. What next? Would Simon show up without a suit? Or better yet, the same 'do as China? They really kept me guessing this week.work-of-art-season-2-gallery-rate-the-wo

The elimination was all about growth. Dusty took the win for his best work in the competition yet, and it looked like a really fun piece. Tewz's piece however didn't grow naturally out of his partner's work and for that he was sent home.

However let's talk about Jerry threatening to go "medieval" on the Sucklord if he doesn't get more imaginative. First off, I think Bill Powers had it right when he said in his blog, "Nice to hear Jerry quoting Pulp Fiction, but I'm not sure it is physically possible to go medieval on someone while you're wearing a toggle sweater." I'd have to agree with that one. The irony is that as we learned before, Bill helped pick it out! Maybe next time they go shopping together Bill can help Jerry pick out a leather jacket. Or some chainmail. Extra, extra, read all about it! Next week the artists receive their challenge from The New York Times!

An Alternate Universe

Bill loved that Kymia's exhibit brought viewers to a new world.

I remember last year questioning why rock stars receive standing ovations. Athletes, ballet dancers, and actors, too, but where is the applause for artists? Now I know this might sound hypocritical coming from a guy who told Sucklord that Mr. Brainwash after a lobotomy would have made more compelling street art, but I really do mean it. I could never withstand the pressure cooker these artists subjected themselves to by participating on Work of Art, and I commend each of them on their bravery. 

I told Young during the finale crits that his installation reminded me how we all live three lives: our public life, our private life, and our secret life. His projected biography interweaving Korean family traditions with his first generation experience as a proud gay man was about as all American as it gets. Seeing him pay tribute to his late father echoed a famous quote from Ayn Rand about our mortality when she said, "It's not I who shall die, but the world which will end." Now that I think about it, the same sentiment probably applies to reality TV competitions. In Young's case, he mined his father's death for all the material he could get, and it rang out as personal, political, and (like Kymia's show) semi-mythological. It's a tough tightrope to tread on the path to universal appeal and the abyss of the generic is a bottomless pit. 

Sara hinted at some of her personal struggles with the mattress full of hypodermic needles of which KAWS remarked, "It kind of makes bedbugs seem inviting." She also constructed a barrier of handwritten fears hung on a makeshift clothesline blocking your entrance into her show, a limbo stick of self-doubt every gallery viewer was forced to overcome. I had hoped Sara would embrace her mesmerizing approach to watercolors, which garnered so much attention during the season from her very first gallery show of the woman being slow-roasted to the sellout challenge where her portraits did gangbusters. In my head I envisioned Sarah painting massive canvases highlighting her signature style. 

When Kymia followed that impulse for her finale show, look at the results. Wow! Aliens, twins, ancient Egyptians -- Kymia created a whole alternate universe with its own unknowable history. I urge everyone to go check out her exhibition in person when it opens at The Brooklyn Museum. How cool that her work will be hanging in the same building as Eva Hesse and Alice Neel.

As for Season 3? We will have to see if our Work of Art worked for Bravo. Otherwise I hope we might be remembered as the Arrested Development of reality TV. I'll miss you guys!