I was a little encouraged by this week’s Work of Art. Maybe it’s partly the “thinning of the herd,” which I’ve been anticipating, but I’ve noticed the remaining cast members starting to shine a little brighter. Except for China Chow, who really deserves a little more star treatment (think of Heidi Klum’s entrances) as the host.
The interaction between the artists and the mentor, art auctioneer Simon de Pury, were much more full and meaningful, starting with his early-morning bedside wake-up call. The judges’ deliberations and critiques were spot on.
A giant effort of product placement, the challenge itself worried me. It centered around a massive Park Avenue Audi Forum showroom, and the assignment was to convey the experience of driving through New York City in one of the car maker’s vehicles. But the better artists pulled away from obvious allusions to the sponsor.
The worst piece of art, a cartoonish collage by Jaime Lynn, lost. “It has no sex, it has no speed, and it has no status — all three things that you get both from a car or from the rap music you were listening to,” said one judge, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn. (Goody-goody Christian people are at a distinct disadvantage, just like Trent on Design Star last week.)
In fact, all the works on the bottom really seemed to belong there. A tryptic self-portrait was too conventional to rate well. “The very idea that lifestyle figurative painting is going to be some kind of rebellion anyway has to be thrown out along with all three of these canvases,” said the guest judge, Richard Phillips. I was kind of wowed by that quick critique.
Also on the bottom, rightly, was a Mondrian-style painting that would have gotten lost among hotel art, as one judge complained. This, from an artist who twice used the disturbing phrase “balls to the wall” to describe how forcefully he would be competing.
Finally, Jaclyn Santos’ photo montage — despite its trite conceit of “I’m being objectified because I’m so beautiful” — deserved its win. Because I said so. What more can you ask for.
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