Welcome, ‘Gasmii! Another week, another new episode of Work of Art. We’re down to eight, which means we’re halfway through. This season is just flying by. (As is this year—I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving already!) Let’s get to it!
Michelle, Sara J, and Kymia are waiting back at The Dillon for the other artists to come back home. Young, Dusty, and Lola were in the top three, while Bayete, Generic Sarah, and Sucklord were on the bottom. In a final show of mercy, Bayete is shown the door. THANK GOD. And while Dusty totally should have won, Young pulled out another ass-kissy win. Dusty is PISSED. (And I think the other artists wanted him to win, too.)
Oh happy morning. Everyone’s chillin’ in the kitchen, getting their breakfast on. Young is massaging Loud Generic Sarah’s shoulders. Sara J quips, “Young, can you massage my vagina?” Ha! My kind of girl.
And they’re off! Off to their next secret location, off to their next challenge. They speculate where they’re heading, and Michelle jokes that they’re heading off to see her mother. Where they actually end up is under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. (Side note: I find the shoulders of bridges, the areas on land where they generate, to be totally cool and a little spooky. Bridges like this, that is. A bridge doesn’t just start and stop, it’s gotta ease into it, and that area between where it begins and where it becomes A BRIDGE is usually pretty awesome.)
Standing under a bridge is fun!
China and Simon are waiting for them. China’s wearing a stiff white cocktail dress, and Simon’s totally hipped out in jeans, sneakers, and a cargo jacket. No tie! The girl artists are cooing over how cute he is. (And he is.)
China and her ridiculous dresses…
China starts shouting. “Welcome to Brooklyn.” Boy, those subway cars and that traffic are loud! Anyway, it’s an intro about street art, how it went from being underground and subversive to being a legitimate form of art. Sucklord chimes in with some data, ending with, “It’s rad.”
The artists will be doing their own street art for this challenge, on the two walls of the massive brick building behind them. But it’ll be in groups of two. Everyone kinda looks around like, “oh shit.” I would, too. Group projects suck. Michelle specifically mentions not wanting to work with Kymia, because she’s got a strong personality. I think Michelle’s got one, too. She’s just a little more Type B about it.
So, that crate of spray cans sitting in front of them? They’ll use those to randomly choose their teams for the challenge. And what will they spray paint? Why, China’s dress, of course! We knew this already from the previews. There are four colors, so those whose colors match are teammates.
It’s fun to watch each person spray-paint China’s dress. Some are more bold about it, some seem to be like, “okay, whatever.” Sucklord paints nipples on China. The teams shake out like this (pardon the pun!): Kymia and Sara J. (phew for Michelle); Young and Dusty; Generic Sarah and Sucklord; and Michelle and Lola.
The closes Young ever wants to get to a vagina
I missed this the first time around—Simon wants to paint on China’s dress, too! Lola lends him her paint can, and he sprays a smiley face (I think) on China’s dress. Michelle jokes that Simon is like the Sucklord with an ascot…and class. Ha!
Even though it’s a group challenge, the artists learn that only one of them will be eliminated. And then there’s another reward with this challenge: $30K from BlueCanvas. Whoa! The camera shoots right to Dusty. Then Kymia chimes in with the fact that she lives with her boyfriend’s parents. Yeah, she could use some money, methinks!
You can’t see Sucklord’s nipples! Boo!
First, the artists have 30 minutes at the wall to plan things out. They all run off. Generic Sarah talks about her partner, Sucklord, reminding us that he’s all into street art and knows a bunch of taggers, so she thinks he’s probably a good partner to have.
Sucklord starts measuring the bricked-in windows in the wall they’re using. He’s only been on the bottom so far, and he really questions his Sucklord-ness right now. His work so far has been heavy-handed and obvious, so he wants to reach out and do something a little different. Sarah’s first crit was last week, and the lesson she took away from it was that her work lacked focus. So, they’re both out to prove something today.
Sara J and Kymia come to a decision rather quickly and easily that they’d want to use the scale of the wall to its maximum benefit, creating a huge character that takes up the spaces. Sara J is worried, though, since they usually work much smaller. It’s a challenge.
Dusty and Young are trying to bridge the gap between them, which is huge. I mean, I’m sure they’re friendly and all, but they come from such different places, it’s going to be hard to marry their ideas. Dusty just looks sad and tired, and Young is all expert-expert-expert about it. Right now, they just want to settle on an image that strikes both of them. Anything? Nope, nothing yet. Keep trying.
“I want you to smile.” “I don’t know how.”
Michelle and Lola chat it out. Michelle talks about how so much is going on in NYC, but it’s behind the scenes and private. Strange, debaucherous things could be happening, and you’d never know. Lola takes some time here to talk about the “renegade swings” she used to install (??) and her glitter bomb attacks on subway cars. (How irritating.)
At the art store, Michelle and Lola settle on an idea of displaying a raging party going on behind the walls of this building they’re using. They’ll make stickers of cigarette butts and empty champagne bottles to strew around the walls, make it interactive for the viewer. That’s fun, I guess?
Oh, that rascal Sucklord. He’s flirting with Generic Sarah at the art store, and Lola’s like, “I’m not jealous, there’s enough of The Sucklord to go around.” Then someone jokes that Sarah will be impregnated by the end of this challenge. It’s like 11th grade art class all over again.
Now we’re back at the studio, where the ideas really seem to foment. Kymia and Sara J are sprawled out on the ground, sketching on a giant piece of roll paper. They don’t a specific story or idea yet, beyond having a big character to take up a lot of the space and really stand out.
Dusty and Young are standing on the roof top, still doing their “talking around the challenge instead of talking ABOUT the challenge.” Like, talking about what they SHOULD do and not what they WILL do. Dusty just can’t get where Young’s head is, and vice versa. They both seem pretty stressed out about it. They DO agree to build some stairs to prop against the wall, encouraging viewers to come interact with the piece. Boy, Miles, I mean Young really likes to encourage interaction. It’s annoying.
Michelle and Lola smoke a jay and then start brainstorming about their project. I have no idea if they actually smoked up, but their idea is fucked up enough that you can’t blame me for thinking so. They come up with this story of this harem of horny tiger people fucking and partying all over the space behind the wall. So they keep telling their tiger-sex stories to each other, cracking up, while they work on painting tiger people with penises. The drawings on Lola’s side are pretty broke-ass, which explains why she likes to trace. (Just like Bayete.) (And just like Bayete, you can go home now, please!) Michelle’s work is a little more professional, for all its tiger-penis glory.
I hate Lola’s random tattoo in the middle of her arm. It’s stupid.
I’m also wondering why they’re spending all this time painting these little drawings and such when they SHOULD be working on some huge-ass thing for the wall they’re going to put it on! I figure it out later, but for now, color me confused. (Just don’t color me with a tiger-penis.)
Here’s where my annoyance with Lola turns to pure and simple hatred. She talks about how when she was little, she learned that “people who are brash get ahead.” Her mom taught her that it was totally acceptable to butt in line. They’re apparently better than everyone else, don’t have to bother waiting in line! Oh, I hate her. What an asshole. WHAT AN ASSHOLE.
Young observes Michelle and Lola, giggling away in their own world. He thinks it looks like fun, but he also wonders if they’re even taking this seriously. Well, I don’t think they are, and I kinda enjoy that they aren’t. But still, I think Lola’s an asshole. (And I suspect that Michelle is a latent asshole who usually knows when to be polite and adhere to social norms, but I think she’s excited to have a bigger asshole around to give her permission to let her asshole flag fly a little. Enjoy it, hon.)
Kymia and Sara J talk more about their piece, finally realizing that they both come from families that have been uprooted somehow. So they start jiving together on a piece, painting together on a piece of roll paper tacked to the wall. Sara J works on a tree that’s being uprooted (the tree has human elements), and Kymia works on a realistic human figure who’s pulling it out of the ground. It’s kinda cool.
Sarah and Sucklord are working on their maze, and they come up with some idea to make it an installation, to add 3D elements to it. I don’t like it. It’s going to be boring.
Young and Dusty STILL don’t have an idea. They made staircases, and that’s it. No other plans. Uh oh!
And now it’s the next day. Oh, there’s Sara J having a joint!
Dusty and Young are still trying to figure it all out. Dusty notes that he became a father around the same time that Young was losing his father. Young’s drinking a smoothie out of a wine glass as he listens, and then he’s like, “Yeah, hey, that’s our project.”
While the artists head back to the studio, we see a montage of other street art in NYC. Some of it is really amazing. Graphic and huge and interesting. I love it. There’s a company here in Philly that does mural tours, and while murals aren’t the same thing as street art (not one bit), I still always want to do it. While I’m already looking at walls, I bet I come across other interesting street art along the way.
I guess the artists sent their sketches away to a company that can make enormous prints, because they all have these rolls of stuff that they’re unrolling. Sucklord holds the shaft of the tube holding his piece, and Sarah receives it when the art comes tumbling out. What a dirty sentence. (And this is how/why Lola/Michelle were painting little penises that eventually become big street-art penises.) (And I kinda think this is cheating a little, Work of Art. They should paint ON THE WALL.) (Or maybe it’s okay.) (Parentheses.)
Dusty and Young are finally on track, creating their nerdy “How does it feel to lose a parent/How does it feel to become a parent” piece. Something about it irritates me to the max. Like, it’s too twee, but not twee. Ya know what I mean? Someone help me.
Lola tells Michelle in hushed tones what Sara J and Kymia’s piece is about. She’s speaking in this condescending tone about it, like it’s just so awful and nerdy and earnest and stupid. Michelle’s reaction, I think, is more about how THEIR piece is so juvenile by comparison. She doesn’t seem to want to bag on Kymia and Sara J too much. Lola continues by telling us she thinks her team can win by being whimsical, that you don’t have to be sad to win a bunch of money. Insult to Kymia and Sara J. Classy, Lola.
I bet neither of them has washed her hair within the last week. Oooh, burn!
Here’s the part we saw on the previews last week, about Michelle and Lola being bitchy to Kymia, who just wants to use the scanner for a second, to scan ONE image. They’re both working on the computers, apparently not even using the scanner, and Kymia asks how long they’ll be. They don’t reply. So she walks over to Michelle’s computer to ask if she can take the scanner with her for a moment and bring it back. “I need that,” Michelle snaps. Wow.
Kymia cries at her work station about it. I want to be bitchy about the tears, but I know I’d be crying too, especially since they’ve been probably sleeping shitty and keep having to crank out this artwork, day after day. And Lola really seems to be a real bitch! She complains about how Kymia always wants to ask permission, how she’s a worrywart. Sorry, she’s just socially adjusted, UNLIKE YOU! (Michelle is more intimidating than bitchy, I think. That might just be me.) Generic Sarah speaks up about it, saying Lola is one of those people she tries to stay away from. Me too.
And the artists keep working. It’s soon becoming time to quit working in the studio and start bringing stuff to the site under the bridge. Sara J notes how the work environment is uncomfortable because of Lola and Michelle’s bitchy dominance. She and Kymia just book it outta there and get started painting in Brooklyn. (And Lola comments how quiet it is in the studio without Kymia there.)
Now everyone’s in Brooklyn, working on their walls. Kymia and Sara’s is off to a good start. They’ve painted the main form of the big tree, and they’ve also got the main figure of the person pulling the tree filled in. It’s obvious that Sara J worked on the human figure, because it’s all misshapen and strange, which is her style. Later, we see Kymia working on the tree, letting the black paint drip ominously down the wall with every brush stroke. Lola’s jealous and makes shitty comments about their piece. At least they’re on opposite sides of the corner, those two teams. At least. Sigh.
Oh, here’s Simon in his sneakers, jeans, and button-down! He visits with Dusty and Young first. He likes what they’re up to, but he advises that they lose the stairs.
Then Simon meets with Kymia and Sara J. He listens to their story of genesis, and then he’s like, “It looks awesome, keep going.” Yay! I agree, their piece is my favorite so far.
Now Simon meets with Michelle and Lola. I DO laugh a little at the print of a cat’s asshole, but that’s only because A) cat assholes are funny and B) I loved that book “101 Uses for a Dead Cat” when I was a kid. (Google it. Buy it. Laugh at the use on pg. 48. My brother and I bond over our fond memories of pg. 48 every now and then.) He’s otherwise kinda “eh” about their work. It’s too detailed, and it’s not really conveying “street art.” I think he likes the perversion, though. (More reason to hate Lola? She says, “Whatever” about Simon’s advice.)
Simon hasn’t talked about tiger penises in a while.
Simon meets briefly with Generic Sarah and Sucklord, and he’s not really impressed with what they’re up to either. He seems to be most worried about their use of time. I’m just thinking this thing is boring, and they really better do something to jazz it up!
It’s soon nighttime, and the artists are still hard at work. It must’ve gotten cold, because everyone’s bundled up. Lola and Michelle (and Generic Sarah) check out Kymia and Sara J’s piece, and Lola decides it’s cool but looks like a PSA for lung cancer. Uh, okay. Sucklord notices the rain falling (it almost looks like snow, from this angle!), and he gets all kvetchy about it.
All of a sudden, it’s the next morning, and the artists are all sitting around The Dillon drinking smoothies. Did anyone see a V8 Smoothie commercial during their show? I can’t remember, but since they’re all drinking it, it must be a sponsor. Anyway, they’re all a little freaked about the rain. Did it ruin their work? Didn’t it? Generic Sarah and Sucklord are the most worried because their 3D pieces are, like, glued to the wall.
They didn’t need to worry, everything’s okay. But now they gotta WORK, everyone’s only got an hour until the show!
Sucklord and Sarah decide to put a little mouse and cheese sticker on opposite ends of the maze. That’s cute, and it probably saves it from being too design-y and helps it become more street art. They slap the mouse and cheese on the wall. Done. I don’t like their piece.
Lola tells Michelle she wants to write little commentary on the wall of their piece, much like she did with her almost-win last week, about the rocket launcher and inferior Libyan arms. Michelle’s like, “Cool.” So she starts writing descriptors about the apartment behind the walls, the perverse tiger sex den. (It looks like Michelle did a really nice job painting a realistic version of a room behind the windows, by the way.) Lola ruins it by adding “passed out nanny” and “carved ivory fixtures” and “900 thread count sheets (ironed).” This “words on the piece” has absolutely NONE of the impact it had last week. I groan.
Dusty and Young decide to put black thought bubbles on the wall in between their twee “we’re thought-provoking” bubbles. Then people can walk up those stairs they built, those that Simon advised them to get rid of, and they can write on the space. Great.
And time is up! The artists mill about, cleaning up their ladders and paint cans and looking at each others’ art. Kymia really likes Michelle and Lola’s piece and starts to feel intimidated. But she shouldn’t—hers is awesome!
In the “We’re Back! No, We’re Not!” segment this week, we learn ALL about Young’s short shorts. His really short shorts. He wears them to bed, he wears them in public. He wears them to climb up and down scaffolding for this group challenge, which gives Dusty an eyeful (not in a fruit basket way).
Time to show this shit off! It’s daytime, which feels a little weird, but I guess it makes sense. (I usually associate these gallery shows with nighttime, don’t you?) Anyway, the judges are all there, including China in a strangely colored boa. It’s huge.
The guest judge this week is Lee Quinones, whom China refers to as “the pioneer of the subway art movement of the 70s and 80s.” Sucklord gives him a power fist, and Lee returns it.
People crowd around Dusty and Young’s piece, and within seconds, their wall is shown with tons of chalk-writing on it. The judges nod appreciatively at it. If this one wins, I will make an angry sound. I’m warning you now.
Lee Quinones seems to have a lot of fun taking Lola and Michelle’s tiger dick stickers and whatnot. People are getting up on piggy-back (or chicken-fight posture, really) to put stickers way up high. Oh wait, then Lee says it’s hideous. Or is he just quoting Lola’s writing about the “exceptionally hideous chandalier”? I can tell that Lola and Michelle like it, but I can’t tell if the judges do. Oh, there’s a quick shot of Lola giving stickers to some shirt-and-tie guy, telling him to put it on others’ pieces. Grr.
Oh! And there’s Lola actively putting stickers on Kymia and Sara’s piece! Kymia’s mostly concerned about it because the judges haven’t come through yet. I’d mostly be concerned because Lola’s being a dick. Lola thinks she’s just acting in the spirit of the challenge. Street art is devious, so she’s being devious. Her cracking up about putting a cigarette butt in their “delicately drawn family tree” is super irritating. She can go home anytime. I can’t believe I complimented her diction!
Oh, they put a tiger penis on the guy uprooting the tree! Evil!
Judges come by Kymia and Sara’s piece, and it appears to be Lola-free. They like it better from afar (which I think would make sense for street art), while the others looked better up close. Well, Lola and Michelle’s probably looked better from up close. People on the street really seem to like “Rerooting.”
And then it’s Sucklord and Generic Sarah’s turn. Jerry calls it boring. Sucklord says he feels the most confident since he’s been here. And that means he’s going home, right? I laugh when he pretends to run from a cop car that happened to cruise through the shot, shouting “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.” Ha!
Okay, time for crit. They’re back at the gallery, where there are large photographs of the street art hanging.
The favorites were: Dusty and Young, of course, and Kymia and Sara J! YAY! Lola’s face when she realizes she’s a loser makes me happy.
They talk to Dusty and Young first. The judges like how they were very personal and very universal all at the same time. And they like that it was interactive. I can’t stand to keep talking about it, so let’s move on.
Sara J and Kymia! The judges love the scale of the piece, how they used the entire space to maximum benefit. They love the story, too. China says she couldn’t wait to talk to them about their piece, which is a high compliment. Lee Quinones compliments the dripping paint of the tree, which helps keep the rawness of street art, and then says, “Great piece.” Nice!
So, the winner is…? Ugh, Dusty and Young. Of course. Angry sound! (told you!) I hate that they won, though. It’s so obvious and pandering and annoying. Good job, guys. At least Dusty’s finally won one and gets $15,000 to boot! Now his wife can have another baby! Hooray! Young gloats about how it’s his third win. SHUT UP. (Everyone laughs, though, when Young reminds Dusty about his promise to wear the short-shorts if they won. Oh no.)
And now it’s time to talk to the two “less successful” teams. Sucklord and Generic Sarah first. I know they’re the losing team, and I know Sucklord’s time is over. Don’t you know it? You should.
The judges thought it was conventional and boring. They also expected that The Sucklord was going to knock this one out of the park tonight, NOT play it safe. But he held himself back, afraid to go big and go home. SL also gets a little crazy trying to explain to the judges that Generic Sarah isn’t to blame. It’s so much that Bill Powers is like, “Does it sound like we’re blaming Sarah?” Uh oh.
And then we talk to Lola and Michelle. Michelle is wise in letting Lola tell the judges all about their piece. And then the judges respond, saying that it wasn’t as edgy or voyeur-y as Lola described. It was comical and flat. Lee Quinones says it reminded him of the 70s when people DID paint faux interior tableaus on windows, with flowerpots or people looking out. Not edgy at all.
The judges ask who did what, and that’s when Lola’s stupid words come under fire. Remember how poignant they were last week? Remember how Jerry praised the shit out of them? Well, she did it again, and it was hokey and useless. Jerry summarizes his feelings on the piece by calling it “silly, canned surrealism.”
China asks the other artists if they liked this piece. I suppose they probably do this with everyone’s piece—I’ve heard these crits go on for hours, and we only see a few minutes of each. Sara J speaks up about the stickers and the encouragement from that team to put stickers on the other artists’ pieces. Amen, sister.
Kymia chimes in to complain about it, and I get a taste of why Lola probably finds her to be irritating as fuck, but Lola’s little grin while Kymia complains boils my blood. (I have a similar little grin when I’m feeling impish. A coworker calls it my “devil smile.” When the boss says something funny (wrong) in a meeting and everyone wants to laugh but no one does, I apparently smile this devil smile and then make eye contact with the coworker who can’t help but laugh.)
Anyway, Lola apologizes for hurting the girls’ feelings, but she was just trying to be street art and devious! I have no idea what the judges think about this declaration. We only see Kymia and Sara J looking exasperated.
The judges gotta talk about it, and then someone’s gotta go home. Since Lola and Michelle have been consistently in the top (or at least not on the bottom), I’m sure they’re not the losing team. I’m sure it’s Sarah and Sucklord. And since Sucklord’s been so “eh” so far, I’m sure he’s going home.
Back in the studio, everyone’s sitting around talking about the crit. Lola apologizes again, and Kymia explains that she understands WHY Lola did it, but that it was pretty annoying. Lola gets it. She makes a devil smile at Sucklord, who volleys it back.
And then they stand before the judges to learn who’s going home. They fake us out by calling out Lola (but not calling out Michelle or Sarah), telling her she’s safe. Sucklord, your work of art didn’t work for us. Pack your knives and go.
“If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” That must be a quote…and it is. It’s Obi-Wan in Star Wars. Aww. I’m gonna miss you, Sucklord! I just teared up writing that! Man, I’m a sap!
Next week, a major sponsor steps up to get some heavy product placement during a challenge. Who’s that? Fiat, of course. It looks like they get a disassembled Fiat 500 with which to make art. Oh, is there more Lola drama? Of course there is. I’m tired of Lola! Come back next week, please! (Oh wait, no show next week because of Thanksgiving. See you in December*! (*by the time I get the recap written, it will be!) Smooches!
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