Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let's Agree to Disagree: WANGA 8

Opposites don't necessarily attract. Neither do random pairings of artists via paint tubes. The only reason why artists collaborate in the first place is because they decide for themselves that their work informs each other's vision. It is hard to force that, or base an elimination off of it.

Let’s get it out, loud and proud: I AM SO GLAD THAT MARK IS GONEZO. As I have stated in previous posts, I have no idea how he got this gig. Mark’s been overwhelmingly negative throughout the entire show about everyone else’s work and process, even their state of being. (I think that’s a job solely reserved for the spectators of the show) But I’ll be fair and give his work a final critique.

HEAVEN AND HELL: (or hell and more hell)

Mark and Peregrine’s work essentially became a photographic diptych, It was interesting to me that Peregrine chose to allow Mark to have such a heavy hand in this work, when she also has stated in the past that she doesn’t trust his vision. It was obviously anything but her naked body that was up for grabs. What Mark should have known was that if Peregrine was going to just draw and barf all over the photograph that he should have suggested a medium other than photography. His photographs aren’t fine art in the whatsoever. Work of his nature is good for things other than this.

I like Peregrine as a personality, but her work in this show never struck me as any better than standing in the shadows of the best and worst artists. Now that there are less artists to go around, Peregrine is becoming revealed—I’m not sure this falcon ever lifts off the ground.

Btw- I love the ‘art gab’ segment during the commercial break. Total hoot for people who now will look back and say ‘does it really sound that pretentious when I say those things?’ Well I mean yeah, sometimes it’s necessary.

ORDER AND CHAOS: (or kudos for trying)

Nicole let her hair down for us at the critique and it was hair for days and days. (probably 5 days.) Unfortunately, Nicole, this was not your challenge, but I do think that you make work that is extremely personal and beautiful—even though I’ve seen this concept done before by my friend who crated an interactive changeable gear-art piece establishing a more permeable order. She always manages to make these challenges about her life, and she often seems to use text directly in the work, which is bold. I do, however, have one criticism about her effectiveness in this duo; If Abdi was having such a hard time with ‘chaos’ she should have switched with him. We already know Abdi is obviously a right-brained artist if anything, so I am suggesting that this would have been great for the two of them.

Abdi obviously has no idea what the allegory of “The Cave” is about. He created a green blob of nothing in sculpey clay. I asked my friend Sarah where she thought he gets that from and she suggested that it’s because he went to Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, Maryland. She says everyone that goes to that school uses sculpey non-stop for no reason at all, and paints figurative paintings… it’s apparently the only thing they teach at that school. I suggest a curriculum change to prevent reoccurring mistakes like this one.


I have to say that I bit the bullet and not only asked Jackie a few questions before I blogged about her, but I also read her blog before writing this segment of this post, which is against my rules of blogging. I have to say that her blogs are written mostly in defense of her representation on the show, whether forced or implied, is extremely interesting to me given my recent obsession with Bravo reality television and their casts infiltrations in platforms like facebook and twitter. Her blog can be taken as an extension of her art—a constant need to expose the truth about herself while being unfairly portrayed as this huge bimbo dimwit.

In her blog, she states that she was extremely upset with Miles because she had no idea he was back-handedly making comments on-camera about how this work was his manipulative idea. I have to say, I believe you, Jackie, because you obviously would have taken this opportunity to do something like that anyway.

And here’s some proof:

Last week when I went to Jackie’s opening at DFN Gallery, Jackie and our friends posed in front of this painting she placed in the corner of the room. The painting, as shown here, seems extremely reminiscent of the ideas proposed in this week’s piece, both aesthetically and otherwise. I asked her last night if this piece was created before her adventures on Work of Art and she replied ‘yes’ in more than one word. I wonder who had the truer influence in this piece given this tidbit of back history

I would also beg to differ that Miles created this piece to be a literal ‘reflection’ of what he assumed Jackie would create given her past experience with the ‘feminine mystique’. If Miles did get his way, and was paired with Nicole, I would have to argue that I don’t think that the piece would have been as effective as it was—and he probably wouldn’t have acted nearly as masculine with her.

Given Jackie’s piece at DFN Gallery, and her blog post, I have to say that I wonder who really lead who in this project… I think if Bravo reversed the story, it might have been much more interesting to see Miles being overcome by Jackie’s sense of femininity. I am going to get hate mail for this, but I’ll deal with it.

I think I should stop being so harsh on Miles, however. His work is very contemplative and poetic, often using a uniform method of communication with the materials he chooses. His work is better than I give his personality credit for.

Between Jackie and China Chow:

It’s a sexual act. So you were masturbating?

Yeah! (as excited as she could possibly sound)

Between Jackie and Ryan McGuiness:

Jackie, have you masturbated standing up?

(Long pause) Yeah, I have. (Shoulder shrug)

On a side note: My friend Kate Burnley sent me a text message after the show had ended. It read: And the Oscar goes to… … … China Chow.

For my piece this week I have decided to combine all three pairings as the title for my two diptychs. When in doubt, its better to make simple poetic statements with the least amount of fuss, and dirty used cigarettes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

DFN Gallery Opening: Jaclyn Santos

Anybody who has been following my blog knows that Jackie Santos is pretty much the only reason why I became a fan of this show in the first place. I would say the same thing about some of my friends too, who watch because we knew of her at MICA. But I don't think that I have ever been able to call myself a groupie until tonight. I practically idolized her and retrospectively feel embarrassed. My love for the show and my love for her exists in the fact that she's on my channel: BRAVO, pretty much the only television I watch other than Six Feet Under which went out years ago. [If Jackie was a Real Housewife of New York City I would be going equally bonkers for her] I can't stress enough how sweet she actually was to me and all our friends and it was truly a pleasure, she really made sure she was covering all her bases at the show the entire time with everyone that came to show support. The following pictures are from Jackie's opening at DFN Gallery on the Upper East.

Of course, a lot of MICA kids came out to play
Left to right: Beth Rush, Kate Linder '08, Jackie Santos '07, Emily Matles, Michael Ciancio '06 and Gant Powell '07
Myself '09, Emily Addis '08, and Kate Linder '08

We pretty much found some new ways to spread the Jackie love by embracing the new signature poses.

Nicole Nadeau's awesome overalls.
Jackie Santos, Lisa Levy, and Nicole Nadeau

Jackie and her sister Heather Santos

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!

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.]

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Art That Moves You - Work of Art Episode 5

If I were Bravo, I would have named this episode Innie, Audi...

I like that Jaime Lynn was nervous about driving in New York. The way she said “I’ve never driven in New York” made it seem like she accepted this as her very own mini-challenge. I wish that was the only challenge she had to complete for this episode because her illustration was horrible.

Audi Forum? Now I have lost hope in the platform of this show, at least for a week. The challenge was based solely on the idea that Audi needed some face time on the show for being such a blatant benefactor; not only was this obvious, but the challenge had nothing to do with Audi, but the moments the artists spent in the Audi. Wow.

Of course Jackie has been inspired by men looking at her in the window of the Audi Forum. I mean obviously. What else was there?

and uhm... match made in Urban Outfitters heaven?

Or hell.

I've been reading, and I love, Jerry Saltz's blog on Vulture (Eating Pop Culture) NY Mag Online. Each week he responds to each episode, but he keeps refering to Abdi as this graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art, and I have to correct Jerry on that, Abdi did not go to MICA. If he did he would (hopefully and theoretically) know a little more about art history. He would maybe have been able to reference work like Hank WIllis Thomas, who has dealt with branding geared toward African Americans in particular, and would have known to surpass that expectation.

Erik is jealous of Jackie and I think it’s funny. As per his comment about Jackie not being smart enough and benefiting from everyone else in the studio for advice, I think that Jackie really already knows what she wants to do, she just wants to touch base with people in the studio, if not to bounce ideas off of her peers, its to make them watch her dance around the studio. (allegedly)

I loved Jackie’s piece this week. Not aesthetically. I think her use of the mirrors was tired and Jeannie’s reaction to them was startling given the fact that this ‘including the viewer with mirrors’ trick has been used widely throughout the art world. I like this project only for the fact that I haven't seen Jackie depict men directly with her art work. I am glad that she finally gave it a try and am happy that she got a win.

Mark’s painting would have been good if he was applying to art school—same with his photography.

Poor Ryan! He’s funny, I agree with the way Bravo has been editing him as the goofy funny guy, but his art is a little silly too.

Miles, honestly. I think I understand his project responses, though. He is smart at making projects that are interesting to look at with very little though as to how far he is actually delving into a deeper place. He glosses the surface with safe work that creates the illusion of a finished piece, which he ends up doing well, but like I said, it's an illusion. I used to do this kind of work in art school. It's work that you'd quickly think up the night before some random piece was due for whatever nuance-specific studio course you were taking. Its all about making the sweetest statements with the least amount of physical effort.


If I had more time I would have had more fun with this project. I tried to mimic the show's challenge as best I could, sans the new Audi ride in the city, not only because I don't have access to an Audi, but I also don't have a license and am against the use of automobiles for personal use, ha, but because I also limit my art making to the span of the of the hour of each new episode. In the end I decided to take pictures of the nine different things I dealt with during the day, and made the layer's opacity correlate how how much that particular subject matter dominated the day.

I know. So wack. But so was the challenge.