Thursday, July 15, 2010

Episode 6: Open to the Public

I have to say that this episode has been the hardest-to-date to blog about because there was so much going on. Between the two groups working on two [bad] public art pieces, a debate between Erik and EVERYONE, Jackie’s poor wardrobe choices (sorry Jackie), and her strange note to Erik, and Yvonne Force Villareal in general, I actually ended up getting a headache watching this installment of WANGA. Let me explain.

To set the atmosphere, I can’t possibly leave out the fact that I watched last night’s episode with the Paige-Fischers in SoHo. I was helping my bestie Dena Paige Fischer with photographing her new sculptures—which for this blog posting I will include as the ‘art’ I did while watching the episode, being as I couldn’t fake an outdoor installation in an hour, please forgive me! But the photos were somewhat collaborative right?

Dena's face pieces

Also at home were Patti Paige and RM Fischer (click first or last name for images, websites and Jerry Saltz's 2009 review), Dena’s parents. Patti is the owner of Baked Ideas in SoHo, which is actually located on the same block as the public artwork they briefly flashed called “Scribble” that Villareal was responsible for. RM Fischer is a preeminent working artist known for his public works spanning across the US, so it was very cool to watch this episode in particular with them. ALSO I stupidly forgot to mention another friend and artist, Sarah Grace Holcomb was there with us, she had just moved here from Baltimore.

Back to the episode… ugh.

This challenge was a tiny piece of fantastic. There are obviously some sects of art that this show is trying to touch upon in a glossy kind of way, but public art is a unique challenge for artists because it really takes the final destination out of the gallery and forces artists to work with various restrictions such as… you know… real people, and a real place.

The Blue Mile Group, i.e. Jackie, Perregrine, Erik, and Miles were failing from the beginning. It became an issue when Miles interjected with his concept about closing up the sky to one axis point for the viewer. His concept seemed to be very unrealized, and I found his suggestions to be extremely un-investigative of the site in question. His intentions to lead the group were selfish, and you can see that in the critique with Simon when he describes this work as a continuation of his last piece. As a group, Miles, this work is not your work, and ultimately I believe that group works belong to no one and everyone at the same time. This work failed because it clearly belonged to Miles, and the aesthetic garbage of the piece came from the tid-bits that he allowed other people to throw on it so they could get their say in.

The Red Rock Group, i.e. Nicole, Abdi, Mark, and Ryan had an equally shitty idea that ended up winning because the other team needed to lose in order for the obvious loser, Erik, to go home. However, I think that this team worked more closely with the space, at least, even if it was as simple as blowing up gravel to a disproportionate size. For the record, the only obvious reason that people were around this piece is because the other piece probably became a ‘let’s take turns and form a line to get on’ thing. The work became the default on the site and people gravitated toward it out of sheer lack of options—or so I would imagine.

It’s all about Jackie-time now. What exactly was she wearing throughout this entire episode? I’m pretty sure I saw a flash of a neon pink argyle sweater, a neon pink shirt with a tiger on it, an oversized knit hat she styled more like an afro than a hat, and lets not forget about how cute all of it looked when she put the safety goggles on. But I think there is something delicious happening recently with Jackie other than her wardrobe. She is finally being portrayed as a smarter version of herself with a little bit more wit. I really liked that she apologized to Erik before the competition started, and I liked that she didn’t try to make everyone do a huge wooden sculpture of her body or something. She worked well in the team and I think she could have been Erik’s saving grace had he just listened to what she was really trying to tip-off in the note.

When Erik read Jackie’s note on camera he enunciated it as if he was a baby-retard so I couldn’t quite understand what she was trying to say. It wasn’t until after 12pm when the episode was available ‘on-demand’ that I realized what she had said to him. Essentially she was telling Erik to stick up for himself and be a real artist that makes intelligible interjections about how to affect the work. If I were to make an intelligent guess as to why she did this, it would be because she felt genuinely sorry for excluding him from the project and wanted him to participate, but did not feel that his useless banter towards the project was effective. If Erik listened to Jackie his voice could have been heard.

I found it upsetting to watch that Erik out-ed Jackie during the eliminations for the writing the note. By the look on her face, you could tell that no one on her team knew about the note. Erik obviously mistakenly took offense to it, and it looked a little like sabotage. The note was probably given to Erik in secrecy for purposes of hiding it from either the cast or the cameras, or both, probably because Jackie felt something was very wrong but didn’t want the attention—(if you hadn’t noticed with Jackie it will always be a push and pull about who’s gawking at her.)

To Erik’s aid, I will say that there was a lot of “typical art school crap” going on during Simon’s critique, and Miles is definitely a “stuck up art school pussy.” But when all is said and done in the art world, work like Jackie’s or Mile’s or Nicole’s will always get chosen over work as aesthetically tired, mundane, thoughtless, unrealized, and uneducated as Erik’s work. (Though I will say that there is a lot of work being done by the 'good' artists on the show that doesn't exactly surpass the list of negativity that I just described out Erik's work.) It is necessary to have an art education (or solid art background experience) in order to call yourself an artist. Erik does not have the mind of an artist; he has the mind of a slightly artful guy who’s been in too many motorcycle accidents. Plain and simple, and I have no idea how he got on this show.

And Jerry:

Why Not?

Why Not?

Why Not?!


… just wondering…

I thought Jerry Saltz was trying to attack Erik here but I realized that he was legitimately asking Erik WHY he felt the way that he did so he knew how to judge this thing. Once he finally got out of Erik that his sole idea was to create vines, he simply stated that he was “just wondering”… which made me laugh because you could tell that Jerry was unimpressed and knew that the Blue Mile Group excluded him because his ideas were horrible…. Yup Jerry… THAT’S WHY!

And finally I have to make fun of Yvonne Force Villareal. I only know of her because of my past work at Todd Eberle’s Studio. I spent a very good portion of my time there trying to look through the archives to find a picture of her in her home holding a plate full of sausage while speaking on the phone looking at a picture of sausage on her wall. Yeah, I know. [Plug: The picture was to be included in Eberle’s new book titled The Empire of Space, which is available for pre-order and to be released in October.] Looking for that picture was impossible, but I did end up getting a rather intimate look at her home and her life. I have to say that she dresses like that even when she isn’t on television, and no, it’s not okay.

And no, it’s still not okay.

[Additionally, I think it's important to note that I read Jackie Santos' blog as well as Jerry Salts'; however, I do not read any other blog before posting my recaps. SO when I read Jackie's blog about the inside details of the project workings, I obviously get some things wrong, but after all, I am responding as a mere viewer of the show.]


  1. Hello,
    You have rec'd a shout out for your blog on a Jerry Saltz's
    thread on his FB page.

    I enjoyed reading your take on WoA and your crits as well.
    I think I will continue to do so for my entertainment as an addition to this reality tv experience.

  2. Sorry, you may not be able to access this FB page thread therefore I am posting it here:

    Dennis Kardon Jerry et al, this will brighten your day: A recently graduated MICA student who applied but was not accepted for the show has been doing a weekly blog and artwork in response to each episode. He is really funny and smart and has this touching way of taking the whole thing seriously.

  3. @artchick1 Thank you so much for reading! I actually was already informed of the plug on Jerry's wall but it's awesome that you went through all that to post it here! Thanks again. Please come back every week, I'll be here... same bat time, same bat channel.