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Jerry talking about balls.
Greetings, ‘Gasmii! Welcome back to week two in the Work of Art thunderdome, where art battles against art. Sounds exciting, right? Well, not so much this week, but that’s okay, it should spark an exciting conversation anyway. I’m late with the recap, so let’s stop introducing it already and get on with it!
Don’t forget that last week, we sent Ugo home for being a one-trick pony. Sure, he made swirly designs that fit on canvas, surfboards, and ribcages, but it wasn’t going to go anywhere AND he lacked the awareness of his one-note-ness. So he’s gone. Michelle’s paper sculpture garnered the win, so she’s got immunity this week.
We start off early in the morning, with Papa Simon entering the apartment with a cheery Swiss “Wakey wakey!” I say “eggs and bac-y!” to myself. Lola mocks Simon’s accent and delivery, which comes across as being REALLY Miles-ish, somehow. And it makes me laugh. Man, she looks tired. The other artists are having breakfast, with Blossom Blood n’ Guts sitting off to the side by herself. Sara Jimenez’s eyebrows look a little less freakishly absent when she’s NOT otherwise caked in eyeliner. Anyway, Simon says he’s taking the artists on an adventure, so get moving!
“Come with me, my little Swiss ducklings!”
I guess this was filmed in early spring, because we see the pink buds of cherry trees ripening on branches as the artists walk together to their challenge, but they’re all bundled up. Young is wearing a scarf wrapped around his head like a babushka, and I keep thinking he looks like an Asian McLovin, which makes me laugh every time he’s on screen. Anyway, they all line up together in a park, where China and Simon stand expectantly.
And then they all just stand there. For what is edited to look like ages. Everyone’s looking around like, “What? What’s happening? Did I miss it?”
“Let’s just stand here and enjoy the art in the world around us.” “Boooorrrrrinnnggg…”
Then people come flying out of thin air! They’re bouncing off the walls, literally! They’re jumping! They’re landing! It’s PARKOUR! (Cue the clip from last season’s The Office. Parkour!) I keep waiting to see a compound fracture happen before my eyes. (It doesn’t.) The Sucklord says, “I hope they don’t ask ME to jump around like that, I don’t want to bust my ass.”
The Parkour peeps are done, so China and Simon can finally explain the challenge. The artists will have to capture motion in their piece. That’s fine, okay, cool. Oh, but wait. It’s a group challenge. They’ll split into two teams, and each artist has to make his or her own piece, and then all the team members’ pieces need to go together as one cohesive show. So Sucklord’s little stormtrooper men have to somehow be thematically linked with Blossom’s blood and guts.
Young brags about having worked as a curator in New Zealand, so he’s got a ton of experience putting together something like this. Great, so his team’s going to lose, right?
China explains that they’re just randomly splitting the group in half, which you know isn’t TOTALLY random because the group was told exactly how to stand to wait for the Parkour peeps to come out. As it evolves, I’ll tell you what those teams are. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of side-eye judgment all of a sudden as the artists evaluate their teammates.
Hey, Jazmin has a bump thing on her chin. I can’t stop noticing it. (And now you can’t either, mwahahahaha.)
The groups have time to hang out with the Parkour group, to gather more inspiration for the movement challenge. Once that’s done, they’re also walking back to the studio, observing movement in NYC along the way. There really should be no dearth of inspiration for some pretty awesome art pieces about movement, right?
First, Team 1 gathers to chat it out. Sucklord’s like, “Let’s just each take a moment to check in with where our heads are at.” Seems reasonable. Teammates include Sucklord (right, Panda, thanks), Bayonet, Generic Sarah, Quinoa, Dusty, Michelle, and Sara Jimenez. The ideas start off as follows: Bayonet wants to do stop-motion spinning in a circle, SL wants to do an artsy version of the game Mouse Trap, and Michelle wants to do something with poop and digestion. Record scratch. SL: “What does that have to do with motion?” Boyfriend and I say to each other, “Movement!”
“I’m totally serious about wanting to do a piece of poop.”
The group is like, “hold on a sec” for about a minute, and then they all get on board. Like, they know that Michelle’s got immunity, doesn’t care about winning, but they also see the merit in following a theme of digestion. It’s probably not what the producers had in mind when they showed men running up walls and backflipping over staircases, but okay. I’m following it.
The other group goes into Critical/Obscure Thinking 301 mode with ideas about migration because of a problem, a socio-cultural problem. I get it, I do, but I still ask, “What?!” This has even LESS to do with men doing backflips down staircases. This team, by the way, is Leon, Lola, Tewz, Jazmin, Young McLovin, and Blossom Blood n’ Guts. McLovin is trying to take it over, but Jazmin’s kinda like, “This doesn’t make sense.” So she basically says “Screw it” and heads over to take photos of herself backflipping with one of the Parkour guys.
McLovin and Blossom checkin’ it out; Jazmin judgin’.
“Enough of this shit, I gotta dance!”
By the way, Jazmin uses “disparate” in a sentence, pronouncing it differently than I’ve ever pronounced it in my head, and I’m kinda stuck on it. (I say, “Dis-PARROT” and she says it like “desperate” with a “dis” in the beginning.) I Google it and learn that her way is more correct, though mine is not incorrect. See what watching television teaches you, kids?
The thing with Jazmin saying, “screw it” and heading over to take photos of herself backflipping with one of the Parkour guys? It’s a team challenge, so telling us that you don’t care what other people think, that you’re going to do your own thing, is exactly the kind of shit thinking that’s going to take your team down. Good job. Anyway, she does adequate backflips. That’s fine.
Team 2, Global Migration, starts walking back to the studio, deciding to trash-pick along the way to include in their pieces. Leon’s really into it, because he’s been trash-picking for art materials since his childhood in Malaysia. In fact, he says that one of the reasons he moved to the U.S. was so he could do more with trash.
Team 1 is heading home, too, with Sucklord wisely reminding the group to keep “motion” in mind. Sure, the other team’s lofty migration theme SOUNDS like it’s better because it’s more metaphorical, but the reality is that the challenge is about motion, so you better fucking think about motion! This team is still thinking about digestion as their theme, though. How will these two puddles of thought marry?!
We arrive at the studio, where the artists start collecting materials to being their work. Blossom explains how she grew up with Crohn’s disease, which is a pretty terrible intestinal disorder, which also explains a lot of her work as an artist. It shouldn’t be a surprise that she’s immediately starting work on a piece that involves blood and guts. She’s just trying to figure out how it fits into the migration/motion theme.
“So can you show the socioeconomic movement of the oppression of North Korea using blood n’ guts? Awesome.”
Jazmin seems to be the only one who’s focused on actual motion, with her photos of backflips. I mean, maybe it seems obvious, but I didn’t think the judges were asking the artists to get into global migration and socioeconomic manipulations when they brought out wall-leaping Parkour dudes. So she may be the only one on point.
Team 1, Digestion, has broken the act of digestion down into its different parts, with each artist taking on that solitary part. Like, Michelle is obviously pooping, but Bayonet is “nausea” and Sucklord is “intestines.” He’s milling about, trying to figure out how to work his Mouse Trap idea into “intestines.” (News flash: it won’t work!)
Simon comes in to check it all out, and he’s maybe a little earlier than he usually is. Turns out this is a good thing. He goes to Team 1, Digestion, first. He’s frowning as they explain the whole “this person’s chewing piece leads to this person’s stomach piece leads to this person’s intestines piece.” He comments that it seems rather slow, not at all the motion exemplified by the Parkour demonstration. “You have a lot to figure out,” he warns.
Then Team 2, Migration, gathers to talk about their ideas. Simon’s brow knits even more furiously (furious with confusion, I should note). Young explains “migration of history,” mentioning the migration of people from North Korea to South Korea; how Lola’s piece has to do with phases of the moon; how Jazmin and Blossom’s pieces have to do with the body; and how Leon’s piece is like “the evidence of movement, the aftermath.” What the fuck. Simon asks if they were at the same Parkour demonstration he was at this morning.
Fuck it, all the artists need to gather ‘round. Big Daddy Simon’s got a stern talking to to deliver. None of this makes sense, it doesn’t work, and y’all have to start over. Leon’s talking head makes me laugh, cuz he says “motherfucker” and gives the finger. (Translator Bill is the one to say “Motherfucker. HA!)
“Artists? This all sucks ass.”
In the midst of this talking to, Simon specifically calls out Blossom’s piece for being exactly like the one she did for the last challenge. She gets defensive, of course, and starts sputtering about how THIS is what came to her, how he’s not seeing the finished work, etc. Ugh.
Team 1 gathers to think it out, how to get out of this mess they’re in. They go back to the Parkour demo, start thinking about fun and movement and…playgrounds. Playgrounds and amusement parks. There. That’s much better.
Team 2 also regroups so they can collectively change course. Young wisely states, “I think our theme has to be about MOVEMENT.” NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. That’s what they said from the first second! Leon tries to share his idea, but the group cuts him off a little. Not hard to do, considering he’s speaking through an interpreter. Lola shuts everyone up, though, so Leon can speak. And Leon’s great idea? Circles. Everyone’s piece needs to use circles, loops, circular movement. The group is like, “Yeah, okay, fine.”
Blossom is fixated on the blood and guts theme, of course, so the group wastes time trying to convince her otherwise and/or helping her make HER work into something that’ll fit the theme. Someone suggests her blood and guts on a perpetual video loop or something, to which she snaps, “I don’t know how to make video at ALL.” Well, learn! It’s not that hard! You’re young! She cries about it, says she’s not feeling well, and that’s that.
“You’re just going to have to love my blood n’ guts or leave it.”
Back to work. Young’s working on a Japanese flag made out of mylar. Like, a big silver flag with a circle sewn in with a very subtle thread. It’s boring and it doesn’t convey movement, but Young really thinks it’s great.
Blossom is still working with blood and guts. She’s trying to work with the video. She gets bleeped for cursing about it.
Tewz is working on something with a hose wrapped around a bucket, and then a circle with those cheap plastic clapping hands attached to it. Jazmin says Tewz sucks, is often off the mark, doesn’t have a sense of what’s good or bad. Ha! She IS a bitch! And look at that thing on her chin! (I’m not perfect; that’s why I don’t put myself on TV.)
Lola found a big bag of shredded documents on the way back to the studio, and she’s encasing it all in hot glue to make a big ball. She announces in little girl voice, “I’m double-fisting it with hot glue guns!” Sucklord calls her a super-villian. Um, okay? He thinks her art idea stinks, and she admits it hasn’t really come to her yet, she’s just doing stuff.
Leon’s working on a piece with broken glass and a tableau that depicts the aftermath of violence, with a lightbulb hanging from a wire, waving in circles over the piece. He explains that his deafness has helped him see things people with sight often miss, which he thinks gives him an advantage.
Sara Jimenez is working on a sculpture of a woman on a swing, or something. It’s kinda creepy looking. Dusty took a life-size photo of himself and is cutting it out to place it on one end of a see-saw. (“Playing with myself.”—ew.) Generic Sarah is fashioning a strange roller-coaster track.
Crafting nipples and vag.
Michelle decides that poop doesn’t fit in with a playground theme, but a man getting an erection does! Ew! She constructs a big wooden skeleton of a man with a Rube Goldberg-esque set-up where you pull the wooden testicles and a big wooden phallus rises up. She mentions her immunity, since she knows her piece is “freaky.”
Bayonet is editing footage of himself spinning in circles on the rooftop. The idea came from the original nausea/digestion theme, where he was assigned “nausea.” Spinning in circles has the tendency to make you pukey, so there ya go! Doesn’t really seem artistic to me at all, but okay.
Sucklord is making some kind of Coney Island boardwalk game. Quinoa is making something where she has to cast her tongue in plaster to make a mold to make a rubberized tongue that’ll lick at a big pile of dirt. Okay!
Wouldn’t it be fun to see Quinoa’s tongue tonguing Sara J’s nipples and vag? But that’s a different show.
The group is finished for the night and heads back home to The Dillon. Sucklord, Young McLovin, and Tewz are chatting about the challenge, and Tewz seems pretty confident that his team’s going to win. Young isn’t so sure and thinks Tewz’ positive attitude and confidence are sometimes misplaced, that he’s “tempting the foreshadowing gods.”
It’s already the next day, wow, and they all head back to the studio. I think they’ve got two hours today to finish up their individual pieces AND curate them into a cohesive gallery experience. Tewz thinks his group’s work is very cohesive and awesome, while the other team’s stuff is juvenile and crappy.
By the way, Jazmin’s all excited about her photo of herself and Mr. Parkour flipping together, but to me, they look like they’re suspended from wires, like those nightmares Jennifer Lopez had in that creepy movie about being suspended from wires. Know what I’m talking about? Or am I thinking about a different creepy/bad movie?
In the “We’re Back! No, We’re Not!” segment this week, the entire group of artists is sitting around, learning from Leon how to sign. But this segment isn’t really about that, it’s about Young’s nicknames for people. (Quinoa is “Mama K” and Lola is “Dangerella.”) Generic Sarah’s nickname, though, is Loud. And that was determined by the deaf guy! Irony!
Okay, time to show off this crappy art! We’re at the gallery show with China, Jerry, Bill and our buddy Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn!
“See how they didn’t show motion at all?” “Yep.”
We check out the Playground group’s gallery first, which is called “Play With Me.” So, already it invites the viewers to participate in the art. Which is good, because a lot of these pieces are participatory. Sucklord’s got his “Flip the Rat” game, Sara Jimenez’s lady has to swing, Quinoa’s tongue needs to bob. I assume these things don’t move by themselves or else this would be called “Work of Art and Engineering.”
They like it!
Jeanne likes that there’s a unifying theme that makes sense. The artists clearly talked to each other. Sara Jimenez’s sculpture has a hairy vag, which Young comments on. “Does that make you want to switch teams?” “No.”
Not enticing to gay men.
The judges enjoy playing Flip the Rat, and they also like Bayonet’s spinny video. China rides Dusty’s teeter-totter. All in all, though it really looks juvenile and crappily/hastily made, this show is mostly a success.
Let’s go check the other team’s gallery, which they’ve called “Loop.” Each artist tries to explain their piece as though it’s the most awesome thing around, and none of them are even close. Like, I get what they THINK they’re going for, but it’s all a bunch of crap. I’m starting to think that I could do this shit and actually get pretty far, if that’s all you have to do, make something shitty and talk half-intelligently about it!
“Have you heard all this bullshit?” “I know, it’s just turrrrrible.”
Young’s silver flag is boring, Lola’s shredded paper looks like a big pile of spooge, and Tewz’ piece makes no sense. AND is boring. Leon’s is the only one I actually like. The swinging lamp over the shattered tableau is really effective. It’s a shame he’s on the losing team. Whoops, I gave it away. That’s okay, we’re just about there already!
The winning show is the playground group. Yay! Boners and rat games win! I think the show won not because the art was necessarily superior, but because they worked better together as a team to create a collective experience. THAT was the challenge. And the playground concept worked well with “parkour” and “motion.”
Yay, we won!
Two pieces were at the top in this challenge, and they’re Michelle’s pedophile piece and Bayonet’s swirling video piece. Really? Okay.
Balls and boners! Michelle really loves goldenrod!
The crit involves the entire losing team and the two winners from the winning team. They talk to Michelle first, where they praise her for making them think ugly things about a playground. China laughs about how none of the men wanted to fondle the balls, so Jerry heads over with grabby-hands to play with it. He barely tugs on the nuts before returning to his place on judges’ row with a chest thump. He shouldn’t have bothered! Everyone laughs, though.
Bayonet’s piece goes next, and the judges slobber all over it. They really love it, and I’m not sure why. They call it mesmerizing, timeless, etc. But it kinda makes me dizzy, and anyone could have done it. Oh, Art, you are so confusing. The other artists have a confused look on their faces, too. “Why is this getting praise?”
Oh, well, actually this piece is the winner! WOW. I’m really surprised about this choice, but whatever. I’m not a judge on the show. And since he won a challenge after being so close to really losing last week, I guess Bayonet earns enough respect to be called by his actual name from here on out. I can’t and won’t bother to do the accent over the “e”, though. Bayete, welcome.
Did they plan their wardrobe?
And now to the losing team. Jazmin takes a crack at explaining their theme to the judges, about how their concept started with “the moon, and the beginning of time, drawing water up through all of human evolution…” That’s where Jeanne and Jerry cut her off with “holy shit, shut up” faces. What IS their theme, really?
Well, it’s circles. Circles? Circles. Bill is not impressed. Just having your theme be “circles” is not enough. It’s too generic, it’s like having a challenge where you have to BREATHE AIR! OMG!
Three of them sucked the most, though. Lola first.
Her ball of shredded medical documentation comes with a passable bullshit story, but it’s really just a sucky mess. There’s no movement in it at all.
Enormous sperm made of semen
Tewz is next. They cut to a shot of Jazmin taking a deep, knowing breath. “Yep, I knew Tewz sucked,” it seemed to say. Anyway, his piece just doesn’t make sense. There are the hoses wrapped around a bucket, and there’s that plastic clappy hand. Bill rightly points out that there was no way for anyone to know they were supposed to “activate” the hand spinny thing. China’s like, “I don’t see what you’re telling me I’m supposed to see,” and Jeanne says, “That’s because it’s a bad minimalist art object.” Wow! Ha!
Blossom Blood n’ Guts is next. She’s sitting on a stool next to her piece. China asks to confirm that the looping video is the only connection her piece has to the central theme. Yep! “I was reaching,” Blossom confirms. (Boyfriend called her “Macabre Lisa Loeb” today. There isn’t enough use of the word “macabre.”)
Jerry calls the piece out for looking exactly like the piece from last week. Blossom gets teary-eyed as she explains her obsession with blood and guts. Jerry’s like, “Right, but that means you’re not pushing yourself. You’re limited in meaning, yadda yadda, art speak.” She starts to cry. I broke my “media blackout” rule this week and have read that Jerry didn’t know of her Crohn’s disease situation while this crit was happening, so he feels like a real asshole now for picking at her like this. But, hey, you signed up for the show, intestinal pain or not!
Here’s where we get the explosive tears from Blossom, which we all laughed at in the previews and is still funny even if you know what’s going on, because it’s so dramatic an explosion, such an odd way to cry. Sorry. I’m an ugly crier, but I’m not on TV! China asks, “Are you crying because you’re not feeling well, or…?” And I have to rewind about ten times to catch her saying, “It’s a mixture.” That ends the crit, apparently.
So, time for the artists to stew and the judges to keep chatting it out. There isn’t much more to say that we don’t already know, other than Lola could have saved her piece a bit by hanging it from the ceiling. The judges were all a little confused by Tewz’ confidence about his piece. Like, it was concerning to them. Finally, they’re worried that Blossom will always revert to the blood and the guts. Decision is made, let’s get this over with. Blossom goes up to the roof to chant out her misery. (And she’s doubled-over as she walks, which makes me feel bad for her.)
So who’s going home? Blossom Blood n’ Guts. She’s relieved in a way, since she feels so crappy. She needs to take care of herself. And she appreciates the critique she’s gotten so far, though she hates hearing, “Push yourself harder,” because she feels like she’s already hard on herself as it is. Anyway, she looks way better without the harsh red lipstick. Take THAT critique and do something with it, Blossom!
Next week, it’s a DOUBLE ELIMINATION challenge. Woo! Looks like Sucklord spills paint on Jazmin’s piece, and Lola thinks Young is lame for bragging about doing work on Prop 8 stuff. (She’s from Cali, has seen Prop 8 shit all over the place.) And then there are zingers as critiques. Come back and we’ll talk!
P.S. I finally checked out the portfolios on Bravo’s site. Two things stood out to me:
1.) Michelle’s poop piece from her portfolio. I kinda love it. Those guys shit all over the walls!
2.) Quinoa’s piece, which they only showed a part of on the show (just the head). The whole thing is a lot more interesting and spooky. I call her as a dark horse.