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Child's Play

Simon shares which of the children's works were his favorites.

The guest judges who every week lend their experience to the contestants are an important element in the success of this show. So it was great for instance last week to have Rob Pruitt being one of the judges for the pop art challenge. I had first come across his work back in the early '90s when I saw a pyramid of drink cans covered with great logos that Rob had done with his then artistic partner under the name of Pruitt and Early. It was exhibited in the museum that Asher Edelman had opened in Lausanne, Switzerland. On November 7 in New York, I will have the privilege to conduct an auction of contemporary art to benefit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. A number of artists have generously offered fine works for that sale. The auction actually kicks off with a work by Rob Pruitt done in 2009 entitled 'Ladies and Gentleman…(Art Awards Penguins).' It is very pop in flavor, and I love its humor. The same sale will also include the works of other great Work of Art guest judges for forthcoming episodes of Season 2, such as Richard Phillips and Adam McEwen.

In this week's episode the guest judge is none other than Sarah Jessica Parker, co-producer of Work of Art. The minute she appeared, her sizzling charisma nearly set my TV screen on fire. Seeing China Chow with an entirely new hair style must also have contributed to the joy of the contestants that morning. It was wonderful to observe the artists meeting their much younger counter parts. Children's drawings are always imbued with a wonderful freshness, directness, and positive energy. Two junior artists struck me as being particularly talented. The work done by Kei was very sophisticated and would in my view have earned the victory for its author in case there also had been a competition amongst the junior artists. Dusty clearly rose to the challenge and used this work as the point of departure for his best work in this competition so far. The complete change of scale had a lot to do with the success of his piece. The other work by one of the very young artists that struck me the most was the text piece by Zelda. The choice of the words, their colors, their visual impact made it an invigorating work to look at. In this case Sara who was assigned to do a work to go along with it did not rise to the occasion. Being confronted with the work done by what would seem to be a happy child made her reminisce about her own experience at around the same age. These memories were clearly very sad ones, which I could feel during my studio visit and as was clearly apparent while watching this episode. Rehashing that period of her life seemed to trouble her so much that she clearly struggled to do a work that would be a good enough pendant to the one she was assigned to incorporate. So much so that she flirted with elimination.

Michelle was also assigned a very good work when she was given the three striking pairs of piercing eyes done by John. She used it as a point of departure for the strongest work she has done in this competition along her winning work done for the first episode.

The one work that I view as by far the best one by any artist so far in this competition is the drawing that Kymia did with the little girl eating the carrot. It is an accomplished drawing that looks much better in the flesh than any television image could ever render. It deservedly brought Kymia the victory in this episode. I am very happy that Phillips de Pury & Company will be able to sell this work at auction and that the proceeds will go to Studio in the School, a charity that does invaluable work with children and art.As always I am sad to see any contestant being eliminated. It clearly must have been tough for the judges to make their choice. I felt the Sucklord was genuinely much more concerned about not letting down the junior artist whose work had been assigned to him, than about what the judges might say of his work. His not wanting to disappoint his junior artist partner did not prevent him from producing a work that also had a close brush with elimination. His impassioned and collegial plea to the judges on behalf of Tewz did, luckily for the Sucklord, little to prevent the latter from being eliminated from the competition.

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