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Dangerous Ground

Bill talks challenge time constraints, Jaclyn's wall of whiteout faces, and Miles' poverty-inspired piece.


When Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust fetched 106 million at Christie's this spring, it broke the world record for most expensive artwork ever sold at auction and by all accounts Picasso painted it in a single day. I think given the artificial timelines placed on artists during our weekly challenges it's interesting to note that it's possible to make a masterpiece in one afternoon.

At first, I was nervous about the Audi Forum challenge being so blatantly sponsor driven, but then looking at the top two pieces from Miles and Jaclyn, they had nothing to do with car culture and could stand on their own removed from the imposed context. I immediately thought of John Baldessari when I looked at Jaclyn's wall, although her whiteout faces felt more like action painting. Miles' silkscreen was wheatpasted to its plywood backing and the ripples in the image from where it was applied mimicked the feel of Wilding posters you see around New York.

One element which was omitted entirely from the show was our crit discussion about Miles' choice of location, which appeared to be a vacated shelter used by a homeless person. Richard Phillips asked if this image was not somehow romanticizing poverty and therefore on dangerous ground? I understand the time limitations on an hour-long program, but I thought it was a valid exploration. Richard's perspective on TV art is really unique for a painter of his stature in that he believes ideas and imagery should be strong enough to survive any transference, whether it be as prop art on Gossip Girl (see his Spectrum piece from last season) or something to dress up a beach towel. His lack of preciousness allows us to re-examine the parameters of contemporary art today.

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