One Enchanted Evening

Episode 2: Bravotv.com's Assistant Editor is still captivated by Kathryn's crying/chanting.

Wow, I wasn't prepared for the cry heard round the art world this soon! That almost made it even more shocking. And yes, I am going to include it here again. You know you want to watch it.

But before the copious tears and head-clearing chanting, the artists were divided up into two teams and given the challenge of creating two cohesive shows with works based on motion. Interesting challenge open to some really cool interpretations, no? The artists must have come up with some really cool, out-of-the box themes...

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...Well not so much. Both teams kind of fell flat, much like Lola's bag of shredded paper. Young immediately took the lead role for his team (I think it was that power pashmina that solidified his status), and the team settled on the idea of migration. Well the team minus Kathryn, who wanted to go the intestinal route.

Speaking of the intestinal route, the other team settled on digestion as their theme due to Michelle's desire to do something with poop. Kathryn really drew the wrong straw on this challenge. (Seriously, what are the chances?)

When Simon came in for the initial critique of both teams, even he couldn't stay positive. And you know it's bad when Simon can't find something good to say. So it was back to the drawing board for both teams. Thus team poop turned into team playground and team migration migrated over to team loop.

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I have to say the exhibition was full of pieces that, much like Dusty's "Playing with Myself" seesaw, left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. But hey, I guess that's part of the intended effect.

In the end team playground was victorious. Michelle's creepy penis-raising piece and Bayete's dizzying video landed at the top of the heap, and Bayete took the win (which was a huge win given next week is a double elimination). And it was amusing to learn via Bill Powers' blog that the artists termed Bayete's big comeback a "reverse Bayete." Artists are truly a raunchy bunch.workofartseason2galleryratethework20203.

Tewz and Lola landed in the bottom, but it was Kathryn's "Splat" that really went, well, splat. The judges felt that she just recreated the exact same exact piece as last week. I guess the judges had seen enough of her bloody work (haha, British pun)!

Now let's take a moment to discuss the chant break. You can bet that the next time I get stressed at work I'll be telling people that I just need to go to the roof and chant to clear my head. Also what was Lola doing up there?

In her Exit Interview, Kathryn agrees that she may need to push her work in new directions. And also cries some more. But hey, I think there's a big opportunity ahead for her. Imagine the artsy edge she could bring to the Saw franchise!

Next week the contestants tackle pop art. Watch this preview to learn more about the challenge but more importantly to hear Simon say, "Pop is bold. Pop is brave. Pop is sex."

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!