Jerry Saltz

Jerry hopes that Michelle actually gets to make her poop piece at some point this season.

on Oct 20, 2011

Then a smoldering fuse ignites. Stressed, Kathryn announces she's not going with the program. "I can't get past doing something about intestines," she says. As I am thinking, "What a baby!" reality stops me. We (and I) learn that Kathryn has Crohn's disease, a chronic intestinal disorder that is often painfully debilitating, especially if the person is under stress. Uh-oh. A second later, she's in the bathroom, in pain, then on the roof with Lola doing a Buddhist mantra chant for inner peace, intoning over-and-over Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

Cut to the two group shows. The playground one has enough okay work not to lose. Michelle's sculpture of a figure conjures creepy perverts. Her way of integrating insight, edginess, oddity, and humor into material is highly developed. Pulling the sculpture's balls gives it an erection. China says "It's fun to pull on testicles." I give it a tug myself, thinking, "Yes. Nice to see such visual results." Yet on TV Michelle's piece looks like a nothing stick-figure. Ditto this week's winner, Bayeté. His simple video kept me trying to figure out how it was made, made me think about what stood still, what spun, whether these images were different, syncopated, or going in different directions. On TV it looks like nothing.

In the losing group, except for a few pieces, the show was as dreary as you'd expect. Tewz's bucket wrapped in a garden hose was simply a run-of-the-mill assisted-readymade. Of course, Tewz assured us it was "successful" and that it said "something about motion," adding that the colors on the hose changed. Right then, I thought he had to go. Tonight.