Like all bad mysteries, this week’s episode begins on a cold, gray day. As the artists are being driven to New Jersey for their challenge, I think of Ahab’s words about Moby-Dick: “He tasks me.” I guess this makes China and Simon the artists’ white whales. Zonked, perhaps, by the Bravo house arrest under which they live, they peer out of the van, shell-shocked by the open spaces and real life going on around them. Some look punch-drunk; others, strung out. Bayeté and Michelle look like they’re planning a breakout. Sarah K. cackles (ah, mute alert, Bravo?!). Listening, I learn that some of the artists don’t like Lola. This takes me back. In the short bursts during which I saw the group during taping, Lola seemed moody and intense, and looked at people through her hair a lot, but she struck me as a canny, kind, sensitive soul whose circuits had been slightly singed from her mom’s dating Al Pacino for ten years while she was a kid. Onscreen, Sara calls Lola “crazy” and “childish.” Kymia says that she’s a “drama queen.” Maybe this is why Lola forlornly says she doesn’t want Sucklord to go home: “I see romantic potential there.” This pathos almost makes me renounce my vow to quit the show if the two of them hook up. Almost.
Since artist vulnerabilities are coming out, I’ll share one of my own. An hour before taping, I’m standing in my underpants in front of the show’s gorgeous twentysomething stylist, Zoe, thinking to myself, Drink in the macho, baby! Zoe quietly looks me over and says, “Um, Jerry. Do you like spanks?” Wow! The old male magic is still sizzling! I heard this generation is kinky! She wants to spank me! Here. In a reality TV dressing room! With the door partly open! Then she holds up a teeny-weenie doll-sized elastic undershirt thingy. “This is a Spanx,” she says. A girdle. My ego retracts, turtlehead-like. Ditto my genitals. Reality TV isn’t just making me look fat. The free food I’ve been grazing on for weeks is showing! I ask Zoe if this garment is “a fat repressor.” Carefully not using terms like “muffin top” or “s’more,” she says, “Spanx are trimming.” I wedge myself into it. I had no idea what kind of constricting strangulation goes on under some women’s clothes.
This week’s challenge is issued to the artists amid the amazing automated New Jersey plant of the New York Times. The artists are to pick a headline from a mountain of newspapers and make a work of art incorporating the newspaper and the story. Michelle looks around at the whirring conveyor belts and papers whizzing around, observing, “Your newspaper has so much fun before it gets to you!” So far Michelle has consistently made great work. When she doesn’t I still see in her considerable talent and the mystical spirit of a true artist. This week she chooses a powerfully personal story: Accident victims unable to prove they’ve been in accidents. This happened to Michelle when she was struck last year by a hit-and-run driver while riding her bicycle in Brooklyn. Although she was severely injured and her legs were disfigured, and she still walks with a limp, the law hasn’t yet acted. Her painting this week of scarred legs makes me quake.
ROTFLMFAO. OMG. Spanx for men. It's about damn time. And thank you for explaining so succinctly the agony women have known for generations about girdles. Keep grazing. You look just fine and it is reality tv, so looking real is a nice touch.
Lola is a MESS. Each week her snarky self shows more and more and her lack of skills also appear. WTF were those paper mached "weapons" about and why did you all completely ignore that part of her installation? P.S. Lola it's called an armorer.
Michele does have a funny sense of humor, but frankly, she seems very emotionally disturbed with ther obsession with her dark topics.
Bayetes piece was so awful I don't know how he could even put his name on it.
Young's piece was intriguing but "slick" and felt very calculated.
Jerry, you write this blog as though you have viewed the airing of this episode instead of relying on memory from what happened the week of this challenge. That's great. But, it's strange that you would write about Sucklord's original idea and fail to mention that he was persuaded by Simon that he was being too literal, once again.
I think it's more than fair, in fact, the right thing even, to hold Sucklord responsible for the ultimate decision to scrap it, but I thought it odd that you relay that segment here as though he inexplicably threw his hands up and went off in a weird conspiratorial direction completely unprompted or encouraged to do so.
Enjoyed your blog, nonetheless. And just from a viewers perspective, I'd have chosen Michelle's piece this week. I feel like the judges found Young's typically and predictably irresistible.
Seems to me it's cheating when you trace images as Lola did in her piece. Is that what they teach in art school? Come on! Lola didn't even believe in that piece of "art"... look at her face when she realizes she's in the top. She's like ha! I can't believe you people are falling for this. Maybe that's what makes her a true artist? Well if she is or if she is so very beautiful to look at that I don't want her to get voted off. haha...
Anyway, I'm glad Young won. I didn't see it at first but the finished product actually made a statement as none of the others did. I liked Michelle's piece this week though. It didn't stand out but I really feel for her story.
I'm actually starting to have a soft spot for Sucklord. Even if he hasn't come through with the art so far I still have faith that he's going through an inner transformation. Regardless he makes great reality TV and isn't that what this show is about anyway?
Why steer Sucklord away from his original idea to a stupid failing idea. Leave him alone to cause his own demise. Im not thrilled with his work but the first idea seemed far better than the one he switched to because some host disagreed with his intentions. Bad move Sucklord stand by your work.
All I can say is this art must look different in person than by camera because the one that went home last week I truly liked. Then this week giving the cash to stacks of black paper was a terrible mistake. That USA with the people was beautiful. So call me a nonartist or the judging on this show is off. It seems more personal judging steering the points in a direction not for the best WORK.
Thanks for the laugh. Please don’t wear spanx. There’s a special place in Hell for the person who invented those things. I like things that surprise and exceed expectations and so far the show has done both for me. Many of us are getting an education about how to talk about art. Does a piece work? If not, or if so, then why? I believe that in order to make something conscious, you have to be able to explain it clearly. It’s so nice to see something that so many find threatening, exclusive and foreign get the demystifying treatment. The WOA judges are doing a great job IMO.
What a great blog about a terrific episode. I laughed, cried and am in awe of your deep understanding of the artist's work. Love it.
Young's work was, as usual, amazing. When he said that he was going to take his mother to Korea I cried. Bayete is not only a wonderful artist but I, for one, will miss his humor. I am sad to see him leave the show.
Jerry, please, some 20 something put you in spankx? You allowed it? Laughing and crying at the thought.