One Enchanted Evening

Episode 2:'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...


...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.


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."

Tiny Coincidences

Simon catches up on Episodes 8 and 9.

Since my day job keeps me slightly busy, I have fallen behind with my comments on the current season.

The last two episodes were the most fun to watch and of course decisive in determining who would make it to the finale.

Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn has a proven track record of a great eye and being able to spot great talent early. She had a very positive and strong influence on the panel of judges during Season 1. Had she been a guest judge for Episode 9 instead of 8, the outcome might have produced a slightly different trio of finalists. 

In Episode 8 Sarah Kabot produced work that sold for the least in the street and impressed the least in the gallery competition. Her elimination therefore did not surprise and did not lead to a lot of discussion. Kymia took a risky path by taking a conceptual and clearly noncommercial approach with her exchange of signatures. From the selling point of view she was second to last and beat Sarah Kabot only by a single dollar. What saved her is that the judges liked it and that she had decided to take Dusty as a team mate. Dusty was the third best street vendor which boosted their team's financial tally. It shows that his surveillance camera on the American flag had a considerably more positive response from the street than from the gallery. Incidentally I would really have loved to go to Arkansas. At least I have meanwhile learned how to pronounce it properly!

Lola did her best work of the whole competition in these last two episodes, and it therefore must have been all the harder for her to have narrowly missed making it to the finale. In Episode 8 her self-portrait with secrets was very striking and worked as well in the street as in the gallery. I regret that it was not possible for the TV viewers to read her secrets. Her portrait of the two coin dealers from Cold Spring in Episode 9 was strong and truly original.

Kymia's portrait of the antique dealers got her the victory in the last challenge and secured her position as one of the finalists. As much as I am in awe of the drawing that she did for the children's challenge, I find this portrait, while technically impeccably executed, a bit creepy and definitely not something I would wish to own. Sara Jimenez like Lola is in top shape towards the end of this competition. She beat out Lola in the street vendors challenge and took considerable risk in her portrait of the Cold Spring fireman. In her case it paid off for her and the reward is a place in the finale.

With most auctions behind me this year I took the time to read the various recaps, and some of the numerous comments this competition causes in cyberspace. First of all Jerry Saltz's recaps are totally brilliant and are the compulsory complement that one impatiently waits for after watching the episodes. Several other regular recaps are very humorous and fun to read. The heated discussions about which artists should have won or been eliminated are exactly the same as discussions I have on a daily basis with friends and colleagues on which artists in the non-TV world we admire or believe in. It demonstrates how highly subjective art's appreciation is and this is precisely the wonderful thing about it. China Chow, Jerry Saltz, Bill Powers, and the guest judges did a great job throughout Season 2 in discussing the relative merits of this season's contestants. The three finalists are all very talented. Lola, Michelle, Dusty all had the talent to also make it to the finale. As in life it is tiny things or coincidences that can make a difference.

Now I am highly impatient to see the finale!