Oh my golly, ‘Gasmii. We’re at the end of the road for this little show that could. WAAAAAH!!!
Who knew way back when that we’d all gather here, week by week, to actually discuss art, academics vs. skill vs. concept, and everything in between? Douchebagginess, obsessive-compulsive disorder, breasts, literalness, and reality-show game play? I thought this show would be a hot mess, a train wreck, or any other cliched phrase to indicate that it sucks and makes a mockery of what it promotes. Instead, I’m really sad that it’s all over. I know you are, too. Let’s go talk out our grief.
And for some of us, CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!
Last week, five artists entered nature and only three came out. Jaclyn and her breasts of wonder went home for finking out on the challenge. She’d just given up, and I’m glad. I’m not sure I wanted to see an entire show of proud pussies. Nicole also went home, in a surprise upset that kept Peregrine in the challenge. Nicole was again praised for her thoughtfulness and her work with different materials, but her cleverness got the best of her. Her art was visually boring and hard to penetrate without massive explanation from her. I’m also glad to not have to see a final gallery full of hairy plaster thingies.
So this is the finale.
As the artists pack up at the Beaverhausen, we see brief montages of their efforts so far in the competition. Miles, as we know, is known for his installations, his construction, and for napping when his OCD gets overheated. He won the very first challenge and several after, and he’s the judges’ darling. Abdi’s arc is shown as him being a spazzy figure, constantly running around and shrieking about the time. We watch him win challenge #4 (shocking art), then fall into a steady decline. (Anyone else singing Prong’s “Steady Decline” to themselves now? No? Just me?) He kept getting pounded by the judges, and we thought all was lost, but he turned it around to win the 9th challenge (nature) with a piece that made me cry. (I still get teary whenever I think of it.) Finally, there’s Peregrine, the whimsical kook whose reputation on the show started with a very slow burn. She only won one challenge, the child art challenge, for her drug party My Little Pony. Last week, she struggled a bit with her piece but the judges saw glimmers of great stuff that needed an opportunity to come out. So, that’s where we all with these guys. Let’s follow them home.
Actually, let’s follow Simon as he checks in on all of them at home. That’s easier, since they didn’t show us how the artists got home or what they did when they got there, and it’d sure be pretty creepy of me to figure it out and recap it here when it didn’t happen in the public realm. Right? No, I haven’t taken my muscle relaxer yet tonight, why do you ask?
It’s two months after the last challenge, and Simon is cruisin’ down the highway in Missouri, on his way to Peregrine’s nest in Kansas City. It’s winter, it’s snowy, and Simon is wearing a puffy winter coat. Not a Burberry peacoat? I’m shocked! Of course Peregrine lives in a totally cool loft space that’s chock full of quirky things and art, art, art. She looks well–was the shower not working at the Beaverhausen? Peregrine introduces Simon to her husband, Mark, and I choke on my seltzer. Is that Eric Wareheim?! It’s not, but OMG, so close. I’d love it if he’d pull a sly Tim and Eric schtick off to the side and wink at me. (No, still no muscle relaxers.)
Mark Southerland, Peregrine’s hubby
…and Eric Wareheim, not Peregrine’s hubby
Mark is a jazz musician and also makes horn art. He and Peregrine show Simon one of Mark’s pieces, which wraps around Peregrine as Mark blows into it. What fun! Peregrine says she knew she’d marry Mark when she met him and that they have a traditional marriage. Awww. I like this!
Don’t act like you’ve never seen two-person horn art before. Sheesh.
Peregrine takes Simon back to her workspace, where she’s been hard at work on a carnival theme. (Not carnivale, though.) She’s made molds of horses and little boys’ heads (??) out of beeswax, for starters. I’m not sure where she’s going here. Then Simon notices a glass-bubble-encased treasure also on the work table. It’s Peregrine’s cherished object, a set of unborn fawns nestled together as though sleeping. These taxidermied cuties are her little muses. She chokes up when speaking of them, because they’re so beautiful and sad and creepy. Apparently, she’s been working on getting them photographed, which is hard to do. (I guess the size of them and the glare from the glass bubble?)
(I’d love to show you photos from their visits, but Bravo didn’t post ‘em and Hulu only bothered to offer a clip showing us the visit with Simon meeting Miles’ Mom and Pops.)
Then Simon notices a drawing tacked to the wall. It’s a simply drawn figure of a girl vomiting. Peregrine says she’s made hundreds of them, because she’s been so nervous about the show and it was her way to express it. She lets Simon sift through a pile of them. They’re actually kinda fun in a way, despite the obviously gross nature of them. Simon loves them. I’d like maybe a triptych of them myself. Can ya get on that, please, Peregrine? Don’t you know that recappers get kickbacks? Now you do.
Peregrine’s got a cardboard box diorama made up to show the gallery space she’ll occupy. I guess they all must know stuff this ahead of time so they can plan enough pieces in a cohesive gallery arrangement. That makes sense. She’s talking of having a cotton candy machine and other whirly carnival ideas. Simon cautions her against doing too much, overwhelming the viewers and the space. She hears him, she acknowledges the concern, but she’s all good, thanks. Their visit ends with Peregrine asking Simon to give her his famous pep talk: “Be bold, be amazing, be dazzling, and be phenomenal!” So cute!
Next we visit with Abdi out in central Pennsylvania. He’s living and working out of his momma’s house right now, and it’s quite a nice house. Mom arrives home not long after Simon arrives, and the three of them chat in the kitchen over tea. Mom brags hard about Abdi, about his skills as a child, about pushing him to keep going with his art (without being a stage mom). Abdi grins as they all chat, and he interviews to tell us how wonderful his mom is, that she’s his inspiration. What a kid. Mom asks if Simon has said “amazing” yet. Simon admits he has not. But….he hasn’t yet visited the work space!
Into the basement they go. Abdi says he was really inspired by that last challenge (nature, with his winning piece, “Baptism”) and that he wants to continue in that direction. We see some photos, maybe, and a few paintings so far. One painting is of Abdi in negative color scheme, naked. Negative or not, I can’t help but tarnish Abdi’s squeaky clean image by staring full on at what’s between his legs. There’s something there, and I want to look at it. We see the same painting done in a different color, and as Booger so wisely said, “We’ve got bush. We’ve. Got. Bush.”
“This is bullshit. I want bush. Pan down.”
Abdi’s also working on some idea of a sculpture of fallen figures. They’ll be life-size, or perhaps larger, and will depict basketball heroes, lying on the ground. I guess that’s commentary on his fallen dreams of being in the NBA? Either way, Simon is encouraged by Abdi’s work but not yet impressed. He tells Abdi that he needs to dazzle the judges, and so far, he’s not dazzling anyone. Simon also warns Abdi that his technical skill could also be his downfall, because his art will end up being too academic, without that edge that the judges want to see. Abdi nods eagerly, as Abdi does.
Simon visits Miles last, in sunny Minneapolis. Simon nearly stumbles over the snow drifts to get from the street to Miles’ house, but here he is! Miles is all smiles and warm greetings, complimenting Simon’s coat. (Great, now he’ll never take it off.) Miles asks if this is Simon’s first time to Minneapolis, and Simon admits that he was there before, to see the great Prince in action. HA! That is awesome. I wish I knew some appropriate Prince lyrics to make this paragraph special, but all I can think of is gender- and situationally-inappropriate things. Like, Simon and Miles aren’t trying to get off, right? They’re not really partying, and it’s already 2010. And the raspberry beret joke is just too easy.
Anyway, Miles looks great. His hair is artfully messed up on one side and plastered flat on another side, and unless he was napping on his knees with the top/side of his head mashed into a pillow, I know it’s not just bedhead. He looks rugged and midwestern, which is more than a little sexy. I’ve never really given Miles a passing glance, but now I’m kinda diggin’ it. Anyway, art art art. Well, actually, house tour, house tour, house tour. Miles shows Simon his first piece of art, a broken Teletubby statue. He tells Simon that he didn’t get into art until high school, choosing to spend his childhood “building death traps for animals”. Well, I grew up in a rural-ish suburb, so I know how this goes. I don’t judge, and it fits the persona of someone who’d punch a wall for one piece of art and who’d joke about mustard gassing the studio for another piece. Like I sez, 10th grade pipe-bomb wannabe.
Simon asks to see the workspace, which is in the garage. And now we get to see what Miles has been working on. Oh, it’s a story. And it’s a process. Basically, his story is that he saw some homeless drunk guy freeze to death outside a White Castle. He’d taken cell phone pics of the guy (when he was alive) on the security camera, and he’d spent most of the past two months playing with those images, delving deeper and deeper into the pixelation. He’s trying to encourage his playful side to come out more, telling his OCD side to fuck off. Simon seems concerned and asks Miles to work on the pieces a little more, to make that connection between the White Castle story and the images that have been coming out.
On to visit with Mom and Pops. (So cute that Miles calls them that!) It’s now nighttime and the Mendenhall homestead is lit up with Christmas lights. In this summer of perpetual sweat, I can’t tell you how excited I am that fall and winter are on the way. Yes, I’m one of those assholes who is happy for snow. Simon shakes hands, giving Miles’ mom’s hand a quick, courtly kiss. (He did so to Abdi’s mom, too. So sweet.) Mom shows off photos of baby Miles, and Pops tells Simon all about his ideas of art and how the process is important. Ah, that’s where Miles gets it.
Ah, the awkwardness of bringing a date to meet your parents for the first time…
Fast forward one month. It’s time for the big finale–the big gallery show and final crit before our winner is announced. Abdi, Miles, and Peregrine meet up in a hotel room in New York. It’s a swanky place, the Renaissance Hotel 57. There’s genuine hugging and happiness between all parties, and it just makes me happy. I love it, I love it, I love it!!! Miles and Peregrine compare haircuts, and they all seem amazed that they’re even here, at the finale.
Then Simon comes in and the gasps and laughter refresh! Peregrine gives Simon a big double kiss; Abdi goes in for a bro-hug with a half-assed one-cheek kiss and Simon, being European, tries for a double-air-kiss (and fails); Miles just gives him a plain ol’ hug. Miles tells us that his mom ragged on him for days after meeting Simon, since Miles dresses so badly. Also, is Miles wearing lipstick here? Did he just eat a cherry popsicle? His lips are way red. Also, I love Abdi, but he needs to cool it with the wonderment right now. He keeps “OH MY GOD”ing at everything and even I am getting annoyed.
The next morning, the artists are eager to get to the Brooklyn Museum. Miles tells us how excited Abdi and Peregrine get whenever the museum is mentioned, but Miles has never been there, so he doesn’t get it (yet). Peregrine’s wearing a kooky hat with bear ears as they tromp through the subway system. They emerge right at the Brooklyn Museum. Ta da!
We see shots of both the exterior and interior of the museum. I have to say, I mocked it at first, but that’s because I didn’t know its esteem. This museum looks amazing. I definitely want to go sometime. It looks like the lower part of the exterior has a modern vibe, with lots of angled glass. And then the upper portion is a big classic columned building. Has anyone been there before? What’s it like?
The artists walk through the enormous central foyer of the museum. Its scale is breathtaking. Waiting for them are China and Simon. China’s wearing a dead pink emu’s bikini. Miles likes!
You can tell that everyone got to know each other a lot better than we originally saw during the first episodes. Like, not only the contestants themselves, but also the contestants with the judges and with China. China says, “You’re probably excited that this day is here.” They all nod. Peregrine asks, “Are you excited to see our work?” China says, “OMG, I am DYING to see what you guys have done.” Miles jokes, “I can’t wait to see what you’re gonna wear.” Oh, Miles and your libido.
China, with a very serious face, declares that there’s one last surprise for the artists. They all gulp and expect the worst. Well, no worries, kids! The surprise is that Simon’s auction house, Phillips de Pury and Company, has agreed to auction off ONE of the winner’s pieces. As China says, it is an honor to have your work auctioned at Phillips de Pury. The artists are all holy-shitting.
Simon and the artists head off to his auction house, where their gallery spaces will be set up for the final show. They have until midnight tonight to work. Everyone’s got piles and piles of boxes, from shipping their pieces from home. I can only imagine how much that must’ve cost. And I really hope Bravo picked up the bill!
I don’t think Miles did any 3D work this time, which is strange because that’s what he DOES. All throughout this season, we’ve seen all these installations and big sculptural pieces, and instead, we got a bunch of OCD photoshops of a dead White Castle patron. (Does White Castle approve of someone constantly saying their name in reference to a dead homeless guy?)
All of the artists are working to unpack their pieces and then arrange them within the space. I’ve done this for shows, and it’s exhausting. At least in this context, you only have one person making decisions on where something goes and why. I’ve hung shows where you have several people with different levels of experience and opposing goals trying to put pieces together in logical and aesthetic groupings. Not fun.
Peregrine’s unpacking and laying out her space. She’s got a few wax heads lying around, and she’s peeling the mold off of a pink horse. Finally, she unpacks a HUGE crate that contains an enormous photograph of her twin fawns. She gets choked up looking at it. It really is a neat piece, but…isn’t it just a photograph? Am I mistaken? Is it a gigantic photo or is it a painting? You’ll see.
Abdi’s pieces are emerging from their packaging, too. He’s not worried about his two-dimensional pieces. They’ve just got to get figured out and put into place. Abdi’s got a bigger challenge in that he packed up his two bigger-than-life-sized human figure statues into these big boxes, and now he’s got to get the remainder of the molding material off of them. Seems he packed them in a hurry. (And I’m again amazed that these were shipped. HOW do you even conceive to package those properly?)
Abdi’s hammering at the plaster casting surrounding his pieces, and it’s tough, nit-picky work. It’s also delicate, and he keeps breaking off pieces of his statue’s hands as he works. First a whole hand comes off, then the individual fingers break off. I’ve seen enough crime scene and autopsy shows to get a little grossed out. (Have you seen the MSNBC series about medical examiners, where one guy takes dessicated dead man’s fingertips and plumps them up in liquid for a while, then removes the skin from the dead man’s finger in one sheet, which he then puts on his OWN finger, like a rubber finger for counting money, and does a fingerprint that way? It is REVOLTING and so cool.) (That’s what this reminds me of.)
Peregrine’s getting her cotton candy machine set up, and she’s placing all her horses and boy heads all over the place. She’s also got some ornate picture frames made of different colors of beeswax, and she hangs them from a stick so they can be lit, melting the wax in creepy ways. They’ll later be placed on a wall all in one row.
Abdi finishes up his statues in the nick of time, getting all that plaster off and spray-painting them jet black. He also has to move them into the space by midnight. He just makes it! Wow, they’re enormous.
As they all get ready to leave the space for the night, Peregrine and Abdi join Miles in his space. Peregrine points at one of Miles’ pieces and says, “I don’t like this one.” Abdi laughs in the background, but I think Peregrine might be a little serious? I think they all know and respect each other a lot by now, so this isn’t awful. It DOES lead us to Peregrine’s confessional, where she says that Miles’ pieces are interesting, but they’re too abstract. Abdi hugs Miles and tells us in his own confessional that he and Miles will be friends forever. Aww. Miles tells us in his confessional how good Peregrine’s show is. And we’re done for tonight.
It’s the next morning, the day of the show. I’d be totally crapping my pants. Well, not quite, I’d be running to the bathroom with nervous poopies all morning, but that’s just me. I’m sure these guys are a little more poised. Peregrine comments that each of them kinda looks like their art. Miles says, “I hope I DON’T look like my art—cuz they were all elderly White Castle patrons.” Peregrine ruffles his hair affectionately and says that he still looks like his art. Ha!
At the Phillips de Pury auction house, the artists get a little more time to put finishing touches on their shows. Each artists has a write-up to explain the show, which is embossed onto the wall outside their show. That’s a nice professional touch—I love it. Peregrine makes sure the cotton candy machine is working while Abdi checks on his huge sculptures. Peregrine says, “If pride is hopefulness, then I am proud. I am ready!”
The “We’re Back! No, We’re Not!” segment this week is an ode to the Brooklyn Museum. Each of the artists got to view the museum while it was empty, which is a pretty nice treat. Miles loves the light, Abdi is awed at the prospect of showing here, and Peregrine is also excited to think of showing here. All this while we see cool architectural shots of the building itself and of the art within. That’s it, I’m definitely heading up to NYC to see this place. Who’s coming with me?
Well, it’s time to get this final gallery show started. The artists are all gussied up and meet their judges for this final challenge. We have our usual suspects: Jerry, Jeanne, and Bill. Our guest judge this week is David LaChappelle. Everyone’s blown away by this, and David looks excited to be a part of it, too. I’m familiar with the name and some of his work, so hey, add me to the list of those who are impressed. I kinda wish that for the finale, though, they’d brought back a panel of the former judges. Bringing in someone entirely new, just because he has a big name, seems off to me.
The gang’s all here! The show opens, and we see Sarah Jessica, and we see all our former contestants. I forgot how cute John is! When Ryan walks in with his porn star ‘stache and red sunglasses, I think he’s a moving portrait for a moment. Jaclyn’s wearing a dress tighter than I thought possible, and Nicole has FINALLY kept her hair down.
Miles’ gallery show is titled “And Two White Castles, That’s It.” It really is mostly just those two-dimensional abstractions, though I see a small computer screen showing the surveillance camera at White Castle and maybe a pair of headphones on a pedestal somewhere. Jeanne loves the black hole-esque shot, and SJP is overwhelmed with the madness of talent in the room. (Um.) The only person shown criticizing Miles’ show so far is the curator of contemporary art for the Brooklyn Museum, Eugenie Tsai. She thinks that the pieces could have been larger, to have more of an impact in the space. Too true, Miles threw up a few 5x7s and expected to be dazzling?
Peregrine’s show is titled “Fair Game”. Word play! It’s a carnival—a fair, and hey, it’s a competition! There’s a lot going on in her space. In the center of the main space, she’s piled up wax ponies and boy heads and other figurines. A few of the pukers made it into the show, too. There’s a slide carousel shooting blanks at one of the beeswax portrait frames on the wall. There’s a cotton candy machine. There’s so much more. I agree that maybe she has too much going on here, but when have you ever felt a vibe of restraint at the carnival? Never, that’s when. So, to me, this works. We see Jaime Lynn here, and she’s just as aged-thirty-something-in-too-many-accessories as ever.
I think she likes it.
The judges love the singular piece of a boy’s head in wax, neck bent gracefully as it lays in a puddle of either sand or sugar. It’s encased in glass, separate from the rest of the show, and the judges are stopped in their tracks. David LaChappelle loves it. Oh, and Eric Wareheim is here, for Peregrine’s support.
Abdi’s show is titled “Luminous Beings.” He explains his show to us as being a showcase of the beauty of humanity, and yet how that beauty and humanity gets covered up with socioeconomic issues and such. There are the two gigantic statues on the floor, one of which Abdi refers to as a complete self-portrait. They’re wearing basketball shorts and basketball shoes. There’s a mystery as to why they’re there, the choice for them to be on the floor, to be dressed as they are. I think it goes beyond Abdi’s failed NBA career dreams.
The tone of Abdi’s show is quite subdued, at least compared with what he’d done throughout the competition. There, we saw a lot of color, we saw a lot of comic book quality figuration. This time, we see muted shades within the figures. Many of the figures are shown from the back. I wonder about this and can’t quite think it through myself. Abdi’s piece called “Home” shakes up the judges quite a bit. It’s a painting of a person in a body bag, from the perspective of being on the floor with the body. China and David LaChappelle get choked up. I do, too.
Jerry and Jeanne check out the sketchbook that Abdi included as a part of the show. Abdi and Erik have a chat. Erik is wearing some hipster doofus version of the ambervision shooting glasses Terry wears on True Blood. I hate this aviator trend, by the way.
(Oh! Abdi’s bush again!)
There’s a montage of Important People Having Opinions. Eugenie Tsai, Jerry, and Jeanne are talking about the three collections: the conceptualist, the feminist, and one dealing with issues of race (perhaps). Guest judges from challenges past chime in, too. Andres Serrano, that Force chick from the public art challenge—they’re all here. They all think the collections are pretty great. I am feeling totally warm and fuzzy inside. I really kinda don’t care who wins, because it’s all awesome.
But someone’s gotta win, so we go to crit.
Miles is up first. We hear, yet again, his elaborate explanation of the White Castle thing. He focused on the dead homeless guy, the space in the digital image that represented his eye, and he just kept blowing it up. Yes, yes, we know. The judges are making “huh?” faces to some degree, and Abdi even looks a little concerned. (I think Abdi mostly looks concerned because he sees the judges’ reactions and is worried for Miles. Because Abdi is a big sweetie.)
Bill asks Miles what specifically he was reacting to as he blew out all these pixels of a dead White Castle patron. I think Bill’s trying to trap Miles in the bullshit web a little bit, which is fair since it’s the finale—it’s high stakes. Miles isn’t really sure, he just followed the flow and excitement as he worked. Jerry licks Miles’ heinie-hole one last time by being wowed by Miles’ obsession with death and these boring pixel pieces. David LaChappelle chimes in to say that this collection feels like a work in progress, and he’s looking forward to seeing where it all goes. More judges chime in with compliments, and we end the crit with applause.
Abdi is next. He explains his show as something that should force you to explore a different layer of meaning in what we take for granted in every day. Each piece should provoke some kind of investigation within the viewer. David LaChappelle is clearly a fan, admiring the large statues for their mystery.
(I’d love to show you more of Abdi’s, but Bravo put the fewest up of his. But I guess you could go to the Brooklyn Museum to see more!)
Jerry’s body language is telling me he still wants to dislike Abdi. He tries to shoot Abdi down by saying the show was heavy-handed in its determination, but the other judges all cut him off to “correct” him about how awesome Abdi’s show was. Jerry gestures to the judges on either side of him and shrugs. Yes, your personal bias is not welcome here today, Jerry! Thank you for playing!
Bill didn’t like the sketchbook, and that’s the only other criticism we really hear. The rest of the judges gush about the grace of Abdi’s show. Abdi, in the way that few people in this world can manage, accepts the praise humbly. I love him.
Peregrine’s turn. She explains how she wanted her show to be fantastic. And I think for a moment, “Didn’t they all?” Then I think more about the word “fantastic.” It means to relate to fantasy—she wanted her show to evoke an element of fantasy. And in that sense, she totally succeeded. I would love to see this show—to pick cotton candy out of my hair and admire drawings of puking women. Anyway, Peregrine notes for the judges that her show is as much about the ponies and carnival acts as it is about the people watching the ponies and carnival acts.
Jeanne notes the grace and beauty in the large photograph of the taxidermied twin fawns. Peregrine’s face crumples as they talk about it, and I can’t help tearing up. Even though I really question the merit of a piece that’s just a really big photo of something someone owns. Ya know?
David LaChappelle loves the solitary boy’s head under glass, and Jerry agrees. I also think I’d like the piece, but I also think a lot of its power is diminished in the editing of a reality TV show. That is, we’re missing the context of the whole county fair that this single piece is a part of, and to me, on my television, it’s just a wax boy head. But, cool that the judges love it, I guess!
The only real criticism we see for Peregrine is what Simon warned her about back in Kansas City—having too much going on in the show, that she needs to edit things down a bit. She nods but doesn’t seem as confident about that choice now. She sure was when Simon voiced it!
I normally don’t have much to say about the judges’ discussions before the winner is announced because it’s the same rehashing of what we already heard. But, since it’s the finale, and since Jerry has an asshole thing or two to say, I’ll give you a quick summary.
The judges know they have a HUGE decision to make this time. Jerry says that all of the shows were “pretty great.” Everyone nods.
Miles: Jerry LOVES that Miles seems to be growing as an artist (does he??), and that he’s using photography to explore death. (So what?) Bill felt like the abstraction lost him—that there was no payoff in the end. Jeanne and China felt like they really saw inside Miles’ head with this show, which they loved.
Abdi: Bill shares that he had an immediate emotional and visceral reaction to Abdi’s figures on the floor. Jerry says, “I threw everything I had at this guy to get him out of the competition, and he really came through.” Thanks for your personal agenda, Jer! Jeanne backhandedly compliments Abdi’s ability to wow the viewer, despite his sometimes conservative and academic approach. Jerry also faults Abdi for being melodramatic and self-indulgent. Wait, Miles’ abstraction of a dead guy buying a hamburger and basing an entire show on it wasn’t self-indulgent? David LaChappelle chokes up when talking about Abdi’s piece “Home”—the body bag painting.
(Wait! Jerry’s pronouncing Abdi’s name correctly!! He isn’t saying, “OB-di!” Huzzah!)
Peregrine: The judges unanimously loved the boy head under glass, and Jeanne also calls out praise for the mish-mash olde timey “scatter art” sculpture. David and Bill both mention how great Peregrine’s pieces are when they’re not so cluttered with everything else going on, but Jerry defends the overall whimsy that brought all the pieces together.
I think I’d most like to see Peregrine’s show, to be honest. I love the interplay of sculpture and drawing and photography. I think she does the best to build something cohesive out of many parts. Abdi’s a close second. He’s got a good mix of pieces to look at, I just haven’t seen as much of a collective vibe between everything. But, hey, this is just television. As for Miles, I’m not interested in the White Castle pieces at all. I WOULD like to see a show from him that had more of the pieces he created during the run of the show—installations and concrete assholes and all.
The judges feel they’ve got a clear winner, though none of the editing really gives us a chance to figure it out. I DO have a feeling that Miles isn’t winning, though.
We bring the three artists back in for the final announcements. They all appear to be holding back tears, vomit, or both. China fluffs them all up a bit before the winner is finally—FINALLY!—revealed.
China calls on Miles, and she tells him that while they loved his work, he’s not the winner. He can barely make eye contact and his body language is so tight and protective. Awww. For all that bravado and humor all season long, there was someone in there who actually wanted to win for heartfelt reasons. Peregrine chokes up for Miles, and I think China’s a little teary, too.
“I guess I shoulda known by the way you parked your car sideways that it wouldn’t last” (There! I did it!)
More Prince! “Cuz me and you could have been a work of art.” (Anyone know the song that’s from?)
Now it’s down to Abdi and Peregrine. I’m no longer on the edge of my seat, because I would be content if either one won. I’d prefer Abdi, of course. The judges offer a little fluff to both A and P before China announces the winner. And the winner is…
…ABDI! HOLY SHIT!!! I start to cry.
Peregrine looks sad, but she immediately turns to Abdi for a big congratulatory hug. Abdi’s shocked and very happy. I’m sniffling back tears. Both artists thank the judges, and David LaChappelle tells Abdi that the art world needs more artists like him. Abdi thanks him for the welcome. My tears, they don’t stop!
And now the tears come double-time, as Simon, Abdi’s mom, and all the other contestants enter the room to applaud for Abdi. It’s just so great, I can’t explain how uplifting this ending is. How the hell does television have this kind of effect on me? Man, I’m a sap!
Peregrine feels like she had a winning $100,000 lottery ticket in her coat pocket, but she left the coat on the subway. Sad trombone. Don’t worry, her husband Eric Wareheim is there to comfort her. Maybe he can make happy trombone horn art to cheer her up!
And there’s Ryan, without the creepy porn ‘stache he had at the gallery. What happened there? Did he shave, or was it a prop all along?
Abdi’s grinning from ear to ear as he dedicates his win to his mother. <Sniffle!!! > He says he’ll give her the money, too, and let her give him some, since she’s sacrificed so much for him all these years. He hugs her and kisses her repeatedly like I do to any poor kitty-cat who’s so unfortunate as to come into my clutches. So fuckin’ sweet. Abdi is the best winner ever.
So what’d you think? Do you agree with the judges’ decision? Did you enjoy the final gallery show? Was there any controversy I missed along the way? Will you be going to see Abdi’s show at the Brooklyn Museum? I’m definitely planning to—it runs through October, I think. Meet me there!
Thanks to you all for watching with me, for reading what I had to say, for filling in the blanks with what you’ve read elsewhere, and for having such great conversations with me and other viewers along the way. This has been such a great show to experience. Hope to see you all soon for Season 2!