Miles wonders what sort of dad Captain Crunch might make. Jaclyn is cranky when she catches cold. Nicole is the MacGyver of the Connecticut woods. What else did we learn on Work of Art Episode 9?
Where’s the beef?
Three seconds. Barely. That was exactly the amount of air time Oka Doner’s art got in the final cut. So we get to see the Piss Christ (after all, that’s good for shock value), but we couldn’t forgo three more seconds of Peregrine’s disco headgear? Or skipped the butt shot of Miles in the bathroom?
Oh, right. “Natural talents.”
Miles has a typically cute 23-year old ass, and since he’s clearly going to the finals, it’s time to re-spin his image.
How are we doing so far, Bravo?
Incidentally, according to an article in Time Magazine, this unlikely fledgling show is “a modest success.” The art world loves to hate it. We “regular people” seem to be tuning in, and we can’t deny there’s been plenty of buzz.
In fact, according to Time:
With ratings of up to 1.2 million viewers since it launched in June, Work of Art (which is co-executive-produced by Sarah Jessica Parker) is a modest success for the network that brought us Project Runway and the Real Housewives shows. While not as successful as the foodie juggernaut Top Chef, which draws an estimated 2.7 million viewers per episode, it’s not bad for a debut cable-TV program devoted to the fabrication of contemporary art — a topic not exactly known for its riveting mass appeal. (In comparison, Project Runway averaged 1 million viewers in its first year.)
So as Bravo fumbles through to the end of Season 1, we just may see a Season 2. Perhaps with more mature artists, improved format, and 10 seconds worth of connective tissue between guest judge and challenge?
We now return to your regularly scheduled programming
How do Jaclyn, Peregrine, Nicole, Abdi, and Miles fare this week?
We don’t doubt that three of the art-testants will be perfectly content let loose in nature. Nicole looks like a happy camper. Literally. She recalls her Connecticut childhood romping through the woods. She begins to gather acorns. After all, she reminds us, from acorns trees will grow.
Miles discovers a chunk of fungus thriving on a downed limb. He wants to make something pretty from death.
Peregrine recalls her commune days. She’s channeling Golden Gate Park, and picking through branches and rocks along the beach.
Jaclyn tears up and fidgets, sloshing through water and shooting photographs of an upturned umbrella in the marsh. She’s annoyed that she can’t get naked. After all, it’s chilly, raining, and she has a cold.
Abdi, once again, looks confused and admits to feeling lost. He perches on a rock and prays for divine inspiration. Peregrine offers him a shell or rock and he seems perkier – a talisman that helps him out of his funk, or the answer to his prayers?
Nature will out
We have only to look at this week’s guest judge, Michele Oka Doner, for illustrations of elegant interpretations of this challenge. Her sculptures and public installations are inspired by aquatic life forms, as well as seeds, leaves, bark, and other organic material. (I encourage you to visit her site and view her work.)
As for the final five, Nicole lets her fingers do the walking, Miles plunges into Mad Scientist mode, Abdi feels spiritually lifted, Jaclyn is forlorn when she tries to sneak in a naked photo of herself taken during off-time (and fellow artists nix that that attempt to bypass the rules), and Peregrine goes half man-half tree.
The drum roll please
Jerry Saltz may think that Abdi has shown the most growth (I disagree), but there’s no doubt that his large scale self portrait this week is stunning. He grinds rock into charcoal, and creates a luminous representation of his own artistic rebirth – a sort of Sleeping Beauty Abdi, levitating over a moody wave. He gets a well-deserved win.
Miles surprises us with a wacky combination of contraption and construction, presenting a process-oriented piece that starts from the curvaceous shape of the found fungus. He displays the original find on a shelf, and surrounds it with a strange installation of bleach abstraction on canvas, amorphous print, mammoth medieval hole punch, and other elements that somehow “work.” He moves on to the finale.
The third finalist
The real question is between Peregrine or Nicole for the third slot. Peregrine’s sculpture cum sex acts isn’t looking good. It starts off oddly with an endearing edge (the awkward legs in boots, draped fabric, a spray of branches shooting out the top), but cutout drawings of park people provoke a Jamie Lynn flashback, and ruin the effect.
Nicole’s “Mic Mac” sculpture is a fascinating something – and it certainly incorporates materials galore, not to mention her usual fabulous, upbeat creative thinking. But we haven’t a clue what it means, and while the guest judge likes it, the object can’t quite communicate what it’s doing on that pedestal.
To Peregrine’s astonishment (perhaps more than anyone’s), she gets the nod to move on. Jerry Saltz doesn’t love her result, but he applauds her growing “wings,” and that seems to be good enough.
What do you think?
So what do you think – really – about the last three standing?
- In my book, Miles is a clever kid with a pile of talent. Irritating? Full of himself? Needs a new shtick? Yes, yes, yes. But I believe he deserves to be in the final three.
- I didn’t expect Abdi to make it. He has little breadth, but he does have talent. He pulled off a glowing image doing what he knows how to do – when it counted.
- Jaclyn doomed herself by not expanding beyond her one-note obsessions. Can we leave it at that?
- As for Nicole and Peregrine, it was a toss-up. Did Nicole get the axe because she’s Luann’s niece? Or because she didn’t give us anything beyond sculpture?
It should be an entertaining finale. I’m curious about time allotted, mandate relative to number of artworks, and other guidelines given. I guess we’ll be tuning in to see it, snark about it, and secretly enjoy it.
Just don’t let that last part get around.