Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Child's Play WANGA episode 7


We’ve been seeing some pretty deliciously ridiculous stuff on Work of Art and this week’s episode was no different. I enjoy seeing the group as a smaller cast as time goes by. We can really start to see them getting more comfortable with each other, and at the same time, you can see the artists’ anxieties about the challenges. It’s not like this idea is new in any way, however, because ALL the Bravo competition shows reveal this sort of comfort and anxiety around the seventh episode. I should know, I’ve been watching bravo since the very first season of Project Runway, then right into Top Chef, even watched Sheer Genius religiously. All of these shows are the same.

This week’s episode took place at the Children’s Museum of Art in SoHo. When China Chow stepped into the room and fed the challenge to the artists, she reminded me of every single elementary school art teacher I’ve ever had, especially Mrs. Ortiz. The challenge was to create a work of art inspired by the moment that influenced each cast member to become artists. They could only use the materials in the CMA. I think most of the artists got confused with this challenge, especially Ryan.

I actually think the problem with Ryan was that he was actually just too drunk to handle these challenges. If I was drunk and asked to make a work like this, my brain would also mix up the challenge, especially if someone sat be down at a desk that was colored in primary colors with chairs that are only a foot from the ground. Ryan, in the future, lay off the grain alcohol and just smoke a garden doobie—and like we all learned in college, don’t do both at the same time. I will miss Ryan very much; I think his presence on the show really defused any direct attention to Mark who I hate more than Puck…. I mean Erik.

Nicole had a good mental starting point. She initially mentioned Art Therapy, a growing profession recognized in both the art education world as well as in psychology. Art Therapy is a great field to get into if you want to actually help people with your art (as opposed to pretending you are helping people with your wall art). The main point of art therapy is that the patient is not making exquisite works, but that the expressions of emotion are eventually transferred into a visual state, whatever the state may be. Patients are not artists, and the therapist is never supposed to comment or critique the work aesthetically. I know this because for a short period of time I considered this as a career move.

Miles is a goober and a mathematician more than he is an artist. I will say that it is funny that most of the people (my friends) who thought he was cute the first week now find him to be extremely annoying, I wonder if that is just because of the way Bravo edits the show, or because of the fact that he’s actually…


And one more thing, Miles, don’t make fun of Jackie’s artwork being cold because I’m pretty sure hell froze over when I saw your work.

Jackie was amazing this week as usual. Her second argyle sweater made its debut on the show tonight. Yeah, that’s right—the SECOND argyle sweater. Jackie stated that she had a really hard time channeling her childhood and didn’t really tell us why, and I think that is poignant considering her ultimate distance from really feeling anything real in her art piece. I am sure she will explain her work as more relevant on her blog, but really, we all didn’t see the relevance, and I think it speaks louder than if she had actually conveyed something. For me, I also would not be able to make a work about my childhood, because to be true about it would be to reveal an unwanted attention to the reasons as to why I really became an artist. [Even though I technically provide you with a piece about this below]. Who, who is truly an artist, would ever tell the real truth about that moment? (It's like telling your therapist what's REALLY wrong with you) There’s never a good reason for becoming an artist, is there?

Unless you’re talking about Abdi who apparently was cool when he was a child because he could draw the Nike swoop. His piece actually really reminded me of people I knew grammar school who thought they were artists and now work in business and finance. If one of those grammar school kids made this work, I would have been totally proud of them.

Mark’s piece was sophomoric.

Peregrine’s work never really rubs me the right way; I think I have a lot of aesthetic problems with her week after week. Maybe it’s just her weird little hat. Her concept was great, and she fulfilled the challenge to a T. I found it very interesting that she conveyed sadness about her life when in connection to the gay community retrospectively. Bill Powers apparently shed a tear at this work and it was probably the unicorn that did it. I wonder where those joints came from.

As for my work this week in response to the show, I have to refrain from creating a new piece about the moment I became an artist/childhood reflections because I have already made a work that speaks directly to this idea. Below is Time/Frame 2009, a work I made last year about September 11, 2001, the day I lost my father to rehab, and eventually his death exactly 4 months later to the day on January 11. Its about the congruence of world events with my personal history, the loss of childhood and innocence, and the storm that swept America away. I will say that I have used the Wizard of Oz in my art work since childhood, and that is no exception with this piece.

I have also included works from my childhood!


  1. I was really hoping for a picture of china chow in her Martha Stewart Mummy Halloween costume! Btw, as much as everyone now seems to be down on Miles, really he is the only one that has what it takes to succeed in the art world. It's because he's not scared, or doesn't show his insecurity about himself as an artist. Not saying he will succeed or even win, just that of the people on that show, he's the one.

  2. Andrew, your piece, once again, really succeeds. It's beautiful. It's haunting, touching, elegant, poetic, lyrical, and impressive. You are so damn smart, and good at choosing how to express your vulnerabilities. It's very inspiring. I don't want to gush.

    Dennis, with all due respect, I disagree. I think Jackie has more potential to succeed than Miles. This is why: Miles, while he might have a pleasing formula for his pieces, doesn't seem interested in learning anything new about himself, or in accepting new vocabulary into his visual language. He has it all figured out, he seems to have discovered the Truth. That's Truth with a capital T, it symbolizes the penultimate, the alpha, the omega, enlightenment.

    To take the art world, to succeed and continue to keep people interested and excited -- funny that the art world is really an extension of the entertainment world, or maybe vice versa -- the artist must constantly be opening him/herself to new discoveries. The Truth has to remain unknown, or at least mostly hidden.

    As soon as It's uncovered, s/he's failed. The search is over. Everyone goes home.

  3. MP, I don't know what your experience is, and while what you write about unknown truth, etc. is endearing in its ingenuousness, this has not really been my experience of the art world. If what you say were true, Chuck Close, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Robert Ryman, and Richard Serra, to name just a few biggies, would not have the careers they have.

    The art world is not an extension of the entertainment world. The entertainment world works by convincing huge numbers of people to spend relatively modest sums of money, while the art world works by convincing relatively small numbers of people to spend huge amounts of money. One is democratic and the other is elitist (despite the illusions fostered by facebook).

    All of this doesn't preclude an artist having the noble aspirations that you describe from being successful. And I love artists that constantly try to open themselves to new ideas. It just doesn't have a lot to do with art world success. I was not saying that Miles was going to be successful, just that of all the contestants he has the greatest chance because he understands what it takes to engage the attention of the kind of people who have the power to make a career. I don't know Jackie but her work is too naive in its play with meaning and way too "well done" in a cliched way. There is nothing mysterious to her or her work, despite the seriousness of her issues.