Why hello, ‘Gasmii! It’s time to talk about our favorite reality competition TV show about art. You know all those other reality competition TV shows about art suck, right? Right. Work of Art is where it’s at. Let’s do it!
Last week, we saw the epic redemption of Bayete with his stupid video of himself spinning in a circle. Not one of us really saw the art in this piece. Apparently, in person, it was breathtaking and awesome. I don’t understand how, but okay. And then my short-term memory sucks because I just can’t remember who went home. Who went home??! Oh yeah, Blossom Blood n’ Guts. She was obviously forgettable.
The show starts off now with following the “crit” artists back to The Dillon, where the rest of the group finds out who won and who went home. They talk of Blossom’s hysterics, how brutal the crit was. Michelle is classy and immediately gives props to Bayete for the win, talking of how much the judges loved his piece. He aptly noted that the judges appreciated that he’d listened to their criticism. Don’t forget that, dear viewer.
It’s the next morning, and the artists are having sleepy breakfasts. Michelle’s working on a glass of OJ, and then she tells us how awesome it was to win and be in the top two for the first two challenges. I know how this show works, and I worry immediately that this means she’s going home tonight. I like Michelle! Please stay! And take off that awful hat!
The artists walk to Simon’s gallery/auction house, Phillips de Pury. It’s big-time. As soon as they get off the elevator within the Casa de Pury, they see unlabeled soup cans on the floor, seeming to lead them on a path. It’s steampunk Hansel and Gretel. Leon does a cute little swerve around each can like he’s on a bike or a skateboard. His smile makes me smile. I like Leon.
Leon! You’re cute.
Then they arrive in a back room that is absolutely stacked with these plain cans. Piles and piles of them all over. That must’ve been a pain in the ass! Simon and China are waiting, and there’s one of the famous Warhol Campbell’s soup cans behind them. Is it real? Is it a poster? I don’t really care. (And didn’t I just read that Sandra Bullock’s son was recently gifted a Warhol soup can? A real one? Yes, because 18-month-old children love 60s pop art.)
What kind of sweater is Jazmin wearing?! For starters, she’s got the hood up. You’re inside, jackass. Put the hood down. But the sleeves are what perplex me. It’s like it’s a short-sleeved sweater, and then she put on big long gloves that exactly match the sweater. And then put a thin mesh shirt on underneath it all. For all my “WTF,” I actually like it. I’m ashamed of myself.
Young’s previous work has been directly inspired by Warhol, so he feels pretty good about this challenge. Like, he’ll have an advantage because he’s previously used Warhol as inspiration? I don’t get it, but okay. Young has a way of making himself the authority on everything, even when he’s totally mistaken.
And Dusty looks confused. Which is a shame, because he’s kinda got a Warhol sensibility about him already, without having to think too hard about it. Those plastic soldier toys, the crayon portrait? Don’t fuck up, Dusty!
So the challenge this week, artists? Create your own piece of pop art. As China says, they’re interested in knowing what the artists have to say about their own moment in history. This seems like a throwaway line to me upon first watch, but after knowing the outcome, I realize the clue in this statement. It’s gotta be personal, a part of your personal history. Remember THAT. Sorry, I’m telling you to remember a lot today. I hope that’s okay.
Simon continues with a little speech about pop art: “Pop is bold; pop is brave; pop is sex; pop is life; pop is fun; pop is brash; pop is political…so make it pop.” It almost sounds like Simon has a cold. Anyway, the artists have all day today and an hour tomorrow to craft their own moment in history.
Oh fun, it’s art supply shopping time! I guess they can’t solely rely on the stash back at the studio. They each have $150. Jazmin frets a little because of her hippie upbringing—she doesn’t have a long history of being involved in popular culture. But she IS taking photos of hair drawing/painting books at the art store, and I’m like, “A-HA! That’s how you do such great hair!” I’m going to do the same. I’m going to teach myself how to paint hair as well as Jazmin does. That is my dream!
Sucklord’s already got his idea in place, about milking the Charlie Sheen meltdown for all it’s worth. He’s going to craft tiger blood and warlock dust for sale, have his goddesses as action figures, the Sucklord works. So, this was definitely filmed in, like, March? Oh, and he wants to take nude photos of Lola for the action figure goddesses. She’s like, “yeah yeah, sure.” And then tells us that she’s kinda attracted to him in a stupid way.
And we’re back at the studio, getting settled into a hard day’s work. Dusty and Tewz ask Young for his take on pop art. Young can’t help but be an expert about it, so he spouts off about it being mass communication, a collective experience we all share. Apparently, Tewz hears this as “if you are a child of the 80s, you’ll be good at pop art today.” Ya know, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are all about mass communication and collective experience.
Oh, and Tewz is making the ass end of a delivery truck, but calling it “FAD Ex”, making fake packages inside the truck and tagging the back of the truck with his street style. He said earlier that he needs to get back to his street style, so here ya go.
Quinoa feels like pop art is more about trying to sell you something while conveying a message. This girl has no lack of ideas for her pieces, and she’s crackin’ away at this pop art challenge. It’s something with a water bottle, with trash/pollution inside the water bottle, and her boobs. She pulls Sara J. into the bathroom with her to take the photos of the water bottle betwixt her tits. Like one of you said in the minicap, there was no drama here. She matter-of-factly took off her shirt, directed the shoot, and put her shirt back on. Then worked on it in Photoshop without being all “I’m nude, no one look, please look at me,” like Jaclyn last year. Amen.
Dusty’s idea for his piece is to make a fast food trash bin with tray return on top, but instead of that swinging door reading, “Thank you,” it’s going to guilt you by saying, “How could you?” Oh great, I love feeling bullied by art. And honestly, he’s trying to go for “fast food is bad for your body,” but I took it as, “You’re an asshole for throwing away trash from such a disposable meal, you should cook more homemade meals.” Someone asks if the trashcan will be brightly colored, and Dusty’s like, “nope, it’ll be neutral.” SOUNDS EXCITING.
“Yep, took nude photo.”
“Yep, they’re my nips.”
Sucklord’s taking photos of the hotter contestants to use for his “goddesses” action figures. No nudity required, just making a silly, sexy face. Lola’s up for it. Sucklord whines to the confessional camera about having a girlfriend who’ll have his balls if he doesn’t behave. Lola admits to confession cam that she’s single and lonely. Aye yaye yaye.
“So you’re lucky you have immunity this week, because you’re generally pretty hackneyed?” “Yep.”
Leon’s grand idea for this challenge is to craft pieces of American company logos on glass, then layer them over the American flag. It doesn’t really sound all that interesting or provocative. Like, yeah, we’ve mostly all had Starbucks and used Facebook, but what does it say about Leon? Anything? I love his interpreter’s voice—slightly nasal, and so expressive. Leon’s got great pipes.
Jazmin has this idea that pop art, for her, is about Britney Spears. More specifically, it’s about the “Britney Spears grimace.” I don’t even know what she’s talking about, and I read a lot of trashy celebrity magazines. Britney either smiles genuinely or looks pissed. But this crazy grimace thing? I don’t get it. Anyway, she takes pics of Sara J. grimacing and of herself grimacing, and she talks of using these in a similar way that Warhol did the Marilyn portraits. Uh, that’s a little derivative.
This stupid grimace.
Oh, but she’s also got a photo of herself pulling her lip down to show her lip tattoo (it reads “bite me”). Apparently her sister got a lip tattoo (“EPIC AS FUCK”—eyeroll), so Jazmin got one. Ah, more derivation. Good job. (Note that her sister’s tattoo features a nice, steady serif typeface. Jazmin’s looks like a jailbird did it in an alley.)
Michelle’s not really into pop art so much. She really likes rolling up pieces of paper and showing paper people shitting all over the walls. So this is a challenge for her, to the max. She starts taking photos of Diet Coke cans, which then translates into her painting a Coke Zero can. Like, painting a picture that is of a digital camera photo of a Coke Zero can, camera included. I kinda like that idea, I just wish she’d picked a different product than a Coke can. She asks if it’s too derivative, and the group is pretty much like, “Uh…maybe?” (“YES!”) The painting is really good though!
That stupid hat.
We come back from commercial to a “mature audience” warning. Ooh! I bet it’s Quinoa’s boobs. Before we get to that, though, we get a visit from Simon.
Simon’s got a guest, Jess Cagle, from Entertainment Weekly magazine. He talks about pop culture, at which EW excels in coverage. But that’s not pop art. But okay. Anyway, the big deal is that the winner of this challenge will get a two-page spread in EW magazine. Everyone shits their pants. This is huge! The magazine has 11 million readers. Wow.
There are two pieces of bad news following this most excellent revelation: 1.) there’s no immunity this week; and 2.) it’s a double-elimination week. Ho shit. (and then I start to think, who do I want to go home? Bayete and Generic Sarah? Well, THAT was easy.)
The artists are like, “GET BACK TO WORK AND WIN THIS BITCH.” Quinoa starts pacing around with some anxiety. Turns out she used to suffer badly from social anxiety. And then we learn that she was present when her father died in a freak water ski accident. Wow, that almost sounds fake. But she’s crying a lot, so I guess it’s real. We see a lot of old photos of her with her dad. Aww. (I really hope this doesn’t mean she’s going home this week. She’s my dark horse!)
Sara Jimenez is working on a piece about online dating. She’s trying to take purposely grainy photos of herself in typical online dating poses. She’s quick to point out that she’s never DONE it, of course, because she has a big tall boyfriend.
Those stupid dots. Oh, sorry, they’re fine. Just continuing the theme.
Bayete, like Jazmin, is focusing on the celebrity portrait phenomenon. Except his take on it is racial, in that being multiracial is, like, an “in” thing right now. Don’t forget that he has immunity. His previous works had to do with identity and race, so he’s just going to keep going with that. We see photos of his previous work, and it looks really boring. Not provocative at all. Anyway, he’s going to blend photos of Sara J. and Quinoa, both bi-racial chicks, into one photo of one bi-racial chick. Okay.
Sucklord gets super-distracted while working on the computer next to Quinoa. Cuz, ya know, her nipples are big and perky and RIGHT THERE. I admire her nail polish. Is it those Sally Hansen nail wraps, I wonder? Sucklord is surprised that Quinoa would show off her boobs, but then he wishes it were Generic Sarah, since she’s got bigger ones. Nice.
Lola’s project is somehow about building gigantic communication devices, or just the messages within them. Like, a text message the size of a pizza box or something. And I guess they’re politically charged, about Mubarek and whatever? I don’t know, it seems kinda boring to me. And shouldn’t it be about Quadaffi? I kid! I kid!
Generic Sarah’s piece is about the foreclosure crisis? Really? That’s a little boring. She’s also wearing mom jeans.
Young’s working on some billboard about Prop 8, the referendum to ban gay marriage. He’s done billboards before, and Prop 8 has been on billboards before, so what’s new here? Oh, he’s going to let people write in Sharpies on the backside of it, too. Oh, okay. Lola thinks it’s all old and boring. “And…?”
Leon’s working on his piece, but he’s stumped by the whole “How many stripes are on the flag (13) and in what configuration?” question. Like, how many are on the top half and how many on the bottom? No one really knows. It’s probably a little crappy that no one knows, but I’m at least proud that they knew there were 13 stripes! For the 13 original colonies! Yes!
Simon’s back for studio visits! He checks in with Quinoa first. He thinks there’s Pimms and garnish inside the bottle. (That drink is strange, with orange and cucumber and what else inside it. But I do like Pimms with ginger ale!!) Quinoa’s like, “I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, but it’s pollution, not Pimms.”
Simon visits with Dusty next. He doesn’t like the trash can. He says it’s not really pop, and it’s not. It’s thoughtful and political, but not pop. Dusty nods and says, “I see what you mean,” and makes nervous sounds, but I think he’s trying to get Simon to go away. I don’t think he actually gets it at all. Not saying that to bash the dude, just that he’s kinda stuck on his idea and will try to make it fit, even in the face of advice to start over with a different idea.
Now Simon’s talking to Sucklord. He’s already a fan of SL’s work, and he confirms that SL is on the right track.
Then he heads over to Jazmin. She talks about that Britney Spears expression that I don’t recall ever seeing. Simon looks confused. And he says her multiple Jazmin grimace heads are actually pretty boring. Ouch! He much prefers the “Bite me” tattoo photo and thinks she should work more with that. He says it would look great in EW magazine. So that’s the other hint, folks. To win, it’s gotta look great in a national (PG-rated) magazine.
Leon’s next. It’s uncomfortable for me to watch the dynamics here, as Simon explains why the idea isn’t so great, and Leon’s making eye contact until he has to watch his interpreter. The breaking of eye contact is so strange and so necessary, this is why he breaks my heart a little. That, and his interpreter’s nasal-y intonations. Pout.
Michelle knows she’s on a derivative path, but she kinda can’t stop. She’s done a really skilled painting of a Coke Zero can—what else can she pull off in such short notice? By the way, Simon doesn’t think her work is unique/creative/original enough, so yeah, Michelle has problems.
I like the new feature this season, where we get to watch one artist create his or her work in fast-forward. Tonight, we watch Tewz create the FadEx truck. He explains to us, while we watch him work, how he’d gotten busted for tagging a highway sign and did time in a maximum security prison. Ouch! He said art got him through, that he would draw cool letters and stuff for other inmates. I guess this kept him from getting things up the butt? That’s the insinuation.
Ten minutes left in the workday for today, and Sucklord spills a glob of white paint all over Jazmin’s “bite me” photo. She’s initially like, “DUDE!” maybe a little pissed, but then she’s like, “Wait, it looks cool. It’s edgy.” HER grimace about it is scary.
Back at The Dillon for the night, the boys are talking about masturbation. Tewz does it left handed so he can also use the computer, FYI. Young is kinda like, “I don’t normally hang out with hyper-masculine men,” and goes on about being gay.
There’s a lot of gay talk in this episode, and I’m wondering if it’s Gay Day or something. I mean that seriously, is this Gay Awareness week or something? I’m not trying to be flip or shitty about it. It just keeps coming up as a topic, so I’m curious. Also, Young talks about how he came out, how his mom cried at first, and how she now dines regularly with him and his boyfriend (who’s cute in an Elliott Smith way).
Okay, it’s the next day, and they’ve got an hour before the show. Jazmin is still in love with the Sucklord paint splatter, calling it “lovely.” They hug about it. Bayete thinks it’s awful. He’s also not impressed with his own piece, but hey, he’s got immunity, so he doesn’t really care THAT much. Sucklord talks about how “eh” Leon’s piece is, and Leon fires back by saying that no one else’s piece is even in the style of pop. Oh boy. Leon seems delusional, does this mean he’s actually going home? We didn’t get an extended backstory on him, so I can’t be sure.
And that’s it! It’s time to show at the gallery!
But wait, first it’s the “We’re Back! No, We’re Not!” segment that Bravo loves. What’s the topic today? Sucklord being a nerd, and how nerds are cool now so he can get the girl.
Okay, NOW it’s time to show at the gallery. Our buddies are waiting. Those buddies are Jerry, Bill, and China. Guest judge this week is Rob Pruitt, who’s apparently a big name in pop art. I’m not into art so much, so I have never heard of him before. Feel free to call me a rube or an asshole, it’s okay.
Leon’s really proud of his piece. Rob Pruitt thinks it’s missing something. Jazmin’s piece looks really strange, just one photo of her looking crazy and another of her looking pissy, with the tattoo and the paint splatter.
Bayete’s photo of the blend of Quinoa and Sara J. is really just a halfsies portrait. Quinoa’s on one side and Sara’s on the other. And then it’s chopped up into smaller pieces. It’s not good.
Generic Sarah’s is actually kinda interesting, with cut-out letters draping off their original material, reading “Sorry we’re closed” in many pop-art-colored layers.
Sucklord’s is great. He really pulled it off PERFECTLY. It’s a Sucklord coup.
Michelle’s actually looks cool, if you get past the “derivative” thing. Jerry actually seems to like it, but China sneers at it.
Lola’s looks stupid, honestly, and it has a stupid title. The long title worked for the first piece, but it’s getting tiresome now.
Young’s Prop 8 billboard seems to be well-received. I think it’s boring!
Quinoa notices that Jerry and China only spend two seconds looking at her piece, which worries her. What she doesn’t know is that they praised it. And Dusty’s trashcan is pretty boring.
The judges check in with Jess Cagle (who I keep thinking should be “Jess Kegel”), who says he’s got a clear favorite that’s awesome AND would look good in the magazine. Okay, not Quinoa’s then. That’s a shame, because I think it’s great. Sucklord’s too.
Okay, time to call out artists for the crit. Two are going home this week, so they only pick two possible winners and FOUR possible losers. Those who are called? Leon, Jazmin, Young, Dusty, Michelle, and Quinoa. They all look like they’re going to shit their pants. Of those, I’m guessing Young and Quinoa are at the top. No way the others could be.
And I’m right. On the way out, China calls out to Bayete, “You’re very lucky you have immunity this week.” OUCH! Yay!
So, on to the crit. Young first. They like it, it’s visually interesting in a pop way, and they like that he made it interactive. Pop made political. Rob Pruitt likes it, too, because he’s gay. Seriously, is it Gay Week? Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
Quinoa! You were also at the top! She looks SHOCKED. She explains the basic premise, making her piece look like an advertisement for something, but then making you think about a deeper issue. “Product DIS-placement,” Bill concludes. Yes. Jerry calls it an advertisement about advertising, and Rob Pruitt thinks it’s beautiful. Yay! Quinoa’s especially pumped because she’s never worked with photography before.
Also, what’s going on with Jerry’s jacket? The visible stitching? It seems anachronistic.
So who won? Young. Of course. Quinoa’s boobs couldn’t be in Entertainment Weekly. So Young’s Prop 8 piece will be. Hooray for him. He bugs me.
“Congrats. Also, I heard that you’re gay. That’s great.”
Now for the bad crits. Leon first. He really feels confident in his take on American consumer culture, but the judges felt it lacked personal storytelling. Leon keeps trying to explain what HE thinks is pop culture, and why his piece works. Jerry looks totally annoyed. Rob Pruitt tries to explain the soup can. Forget it, Leon isn’t taking the criticism well. ANVIL. Remember what I told you?
Just stop talking!
Dusty’s piece is next. The main complaint, really, is that it’s visually boring. That’s not pop art. The judges thought it was too open-ended, too. Like, the minimalism didn’t work for him. People walked right by it. It wasn’t successful. Because they didn’t hammer at him too hard, I’m sure he’s staying.
Jazmin’s next. Again, the Britney explanation. The judges don’t care. To them, it was just two photos of women, one was good and one was bad. So what? And the paint splotch now has a story that has NOTHING to do with Sucklord being clumsy. No, the paint splotch is about “forces you can’t control.” So why is it on the “in control” piece? Jazmin doesn’t have a good enough bullshit answer. And that’s that.
And now onto Michelle. She’s muted in her replies, trying not to bullshit too hard, trying to escape the heaviest criticism, I think. Why the Coke can? “I’m a fan of Warhol.” Why the repetition of the can top? “I’m a fan of wallpaper.” The judges’ main criticism is the derivative nature of it, of course, and how she’s forcing too many pop art tropes into one piece, none of it working. Rob Pruitt at least liked the wallpaper.
The judges have to talk it out now. Which two are going home? Back in the stew room, the artists talk about the crit. Jazmin reminds Michelle of how derivative her work was, and Michelle’s like, “Yeah, that wasn’t really me.” Leon’s following the people talking AND the interpreter, so his eyes keep moving around, disengaging, and I just feel so bad for him. It really must be SO hard.
I appreciate the judges’ discussion, because Rob Pruitt’s summary of pop art is perfect. It’s meant to take a collective experience and focus it through a personal lens. Jazmin’s work wasn’t deep. Dusty’s was boring. Michelle’s was a copy. And Leon’s lacked personality.
Time to send ‘em home. Who stays and who goes? Oh wait, we need some scripted clichés first! Okay, good, that’s done. Now we can finally release ‘em. Going home? Jazmin and Leon. Honestly, I was surprised. I didn’t think they’d send Michelle home, so that was the only one I got right. I thought it’d be Dusty and Leon. But Jazmin? Wow. I don’t know why that was such a surprise. And Leon. Sad face. I hope that guy does really well with his career. Really do. (Do China and Bill look choked up?)
Leon’s exit interview shows that he still thinks his piece was successful. So…good luck with that. Jazmin takes away a lot more from the experience, I think. Good for her. Now come here and teach me how to draw/paint hair!! (Actually, I have my grandmother’s oil painting art books from the 1960s, I can see if there’s a hair issue!)
Isn’t the self-portrait wall kinda cool? How there’s a space of a different color when the portrait is removed? To signify the space that used to be occupied? I love it.
Next week! It’s the “working with children” episode. Oh, and it’s the Sarah Jessica episode, too! There are tears and quippy crits. Come back!
(Putting this here so I can put the censored version on the main ‘Gasm page!)