Simon de Pury

Simon didn't envy the judges this week.

on Dec 2, 20110

I can very much sympathize with China Chow, Jerry Saltz, and Bill Powers regarding the extremely difficult choice they were faced with when having to decide which artist from the bottom three would have to leave. Not having been part of the deliberations, I am not in a position to judge fairly, but for the very first time I disagreed with their choice of who would have to leave. I was relieved that Kymia was saved, but surprised that Michelle was the one asked to pack her things and that Lola was the one making it to the next round. I am sad about each elimination, but particularly with Michelle's as the quality of her work already at the time of the initial casting for the show had impressed me. I am also sad that my comments prompted her to do one better work and one much worse, which ultimately did her in. Luck was on Lola's side and helped her to make it to the next challenge. Just as it is people in any profession, luck is also an essential ingredient in any artist's career.

7 comments
Deva
Deva

What I love about this series is hearing the brutal feedback and watching these young people learn to take the feedback well. I know it hurts but, like vegetables and fiber - it's good for you. As a viewer, it helps me understand the difference between a successful piece of art and a mess. I have to say, it is something I puzzle over when I see a piece of work that seems fine to me but is rejected by the art world.

...butiknowwhatilike...
...butiknowwhatilike...

Goesta's comments about prissy and self-important Jerry and Bill were spot on! I sit time after time hearing them praise and then rip apart struggling artists and contradict themselves. It is apalling There is no artist that everyone will appreciate and love. At least this season the viewers got to hear opposing views occasionally. Simon is the only one I like.

Barbara Rhodes
Barbara Rhodes

I was pleased to see that an artist who does not have to resort to nude imaging or art that requires 'deep' interpretation made it as far as he did. Of course I am refering to Dusty. Art is communication and his art did connect to the viewer. As an art teacher from Arkansas I am proud to have Dusty as a representative. So many times art teachers are low in the pecking order in the world of fine art. In fact I have proof of art professors refusing to give "A's" to students in painting and other fine art classes because education students are not 'true artists'. I felt the program did an excellent job of having a varied representation of artists and their methods of interpretation. I have quoted some of your critique comentary to my students when trying to inspire and guide. Thanks for the material and an excellent program.

Goesta Struve-Dencher
Goesta Struve-Dencher

In my previous post I pled for caring and change, believing that the statement such a show as this makes is in fact important. After being submitted to episode 8, I'm not sure it matters any more. This sad little Apprentice-style stunt was so vacuous that I can't even accuse the producers of selling out, because it didn't even work on that level. In fact, there was a charity art-making and -selling challenge on that show which was a lot more entertaining as well as aesthetically on a par with some of what came out here. Talk about aiming for the lowest common denominator and giving the artists no chance to excel. In fairness, it proved that three of the contestants were able to riff off their respective strengths to rise to a challenge that was so puerile and absurd both in format and time-frame that it should never have been posed to begin with. I grudgingly applaud the judges for getting it, for once, right (not that there was much of a contest). I am sorry that Young undeservedly received immunity, though I doubt he would have been sent home anyway.

A three-day prep and three competing commercial gallery shows would have been another thing, out of which something truly inspired and inspirational might have emerged. But no gestation, no preparation, total improvisation ... what kind of a challenge is that supposed to have been for going deeper, further, more experimental, pushing the boundaries to find out who has the greater potential? This was totally disposable (sure I would have loved one of Sara's drawings myself, but artistically they were still no more and no less than off-the-cuff sketches by a talented street artist). And so, I fear, has this series become uninspired, disrespectful and disposable. For which I mourn, briefly. My outrage I reserve for the creators continuing to profligately waste and abuse the actual talent of their dancing monkeys, errr artists, and for that embarrassing montage of emotional outbursts (many of them already, repeatedly, previously aired) that, I presume, was intended in some way voyeuristically to entertain us. Shame, shame, shame.

923m
923m

Agreed. The other Sara should have won and Lola should have gone. Moowa to Simon. LOVE you!

p.s. bring back Jeanne. The show needs another female judge and she was great!

Kathym329
Kathym329

This was a lovely post - honest. I thought I was alone in thinking the other Sarah should have won. And while I also agree that Lola should have gone before Michelle, I don't think we are alone on that one.

Regarding Michelle....in the long run, a loss like this will be of more value than harm long term. She'll be better for having had the experience.

Goesta Struve-Dencher
Goesta Struve-Dencher

As the one possible voice of sensitivity and reason, you are the only representative of this show one might possibly appeal to in order to rescue the floundering concept of this show. On the one hand you and the judges claim to champion innovation and risk-taking; on the other, the works that are chosen as winners, with a very few exceptions, are consistently derivative, blatant and superficial examples of what the art market is swamped with and driven by. Example: Young Sun's Headline and Pop Art pieces, . I should empathize with Young in terms of his intentions, background and struggles, but he is, in the hard light of day, a walking cliché of mediocre, flavor-of-the-minute gallery fodder. Meanwhile truly promising, unique individuals fall by the wayside (Leon, Michelle) after a single misstep, while those with very modest, haphazard talent who are (presumably) considered more entertaining are given second, third and fourth chances. Then there is the ridiculous holdover from Project Runway, upon which formula your show is regrettably based, to complete a work of art in about a day. While this arbitrary restriction might occasionally produce a work of inspired genius, it tends (just as in that show) to result in a lot of mediocre product that is boring, unfinished and limited in scope, and caters towards eliminating all talent except for the performing monkeys. If that's the niveau for which you are aiming, congratulations. But may I draw attention to an attempt at this format from England, School of Saatchi, which I think only lasted a single season and is, to my mind, the most brutal and revealing, unintentional satire of the art business ever televised, right down to the winning piece. Unfortunately, Work of Art TNGA is fast heading in that direction, except with less flair and concision. As one of the few links between the world of young aspiring artists and the popular media, I feel that you owe it to yourselves to raise the bar on the way you treat your talent, the parameters under which they create, the quality of the show in general in terms of catering to creative excellence rather than cheap, throwaway entertainment, and the quality, erudition and sensibility of the judges. Jerry Saltz and Bill Powers represent the same prissy conservatism and jaded, self-important establishment into whose eye a show such as this could and should poke a brave, brazen brush of fresh and relevant creative rebellion. I hope against hope that someone on your team with the power to change things may see the light of how to make this show a historic step forward in the symbiosis of art and media rather than a forgettable and embarrassing footnote to the bulldozing of contemporary culture. With great respect, Goesta Struve-Dencher, Berlin, Germany.