Saturday, July 3, 2010

Work of Art Reality TV Show - Episode 4: Shock Art

Do you really want to be shocked when you look at art? I sure don't. There was a time in my life (when I was on drugs) when I thrived on anything with shock value, but I lost interest. Bravo's challenge on Week 4 of it's reality TV series, "Work of Art," attempted to do just that. I didn't find any of the submission's very shocking. Frankly, the behavior of those horrid, "Housewives of New Jersey," on Bravo are a lot more shocking to me.

If you missed this episode, you can watch it here.

If you don't want to know who won and who lost, stop reading now. Two artists were kicked off the island in this episode. I find out ahead of time each week from East coast fans in my twitter stream. Follow #workofart to read some interesting, funny and sarcastic tweets. Nao tweeted during the show that she won!

 The cast on "Work of Art" on Bravo

 Abdi's winning entry

I thought the winning piece was just okay, but at least the concept was interesting. Abdi said it depicted young, angry black men as time bombs, feeling the pressure to succeed without turning to crime in a dangerous environment

 Winning contestant Abdi

It was really a tough choice which piece of art was the worst -- they were all fairly bad -- but the judges chose Nao Bustamante and John Parot to go home. I thought Peregrine's stab at fashion piece was mildly interesting and the winning piece wasn't bad; but the rest of them were lame, boring or gross.

Host China Chow looking at Peregrine's entry

Contestant Peregrine

 The bottom three this week.

Here are the two losing pieces from this episode.

Nao did a performance piece which was just a mess. She was dressed in plastic bags with all kinds of crap smeared on it to look like excrement and other body fluids. She sat in a cardboard structure to look like a homeless person. I thought it was more gross than shocking. We watched her struggle through this episode, with no focus on what the final piece would look like. I can understand taking that tact when you're home alone, but not during a show where there's a strict time limit. Let's face it, as artists, we often make it up as we go along and make changes as the piece reveals what it wants to become. Best laid plans, etc. 

During Episode 1, Nao said the best thing to come out of this show so far, "I'm not responsible for your experience of my work." Judge, Jerry Saltz accused her of sounding defenisve. As you can see from the photo below, someone else liked the quote enough to print it on a t-shirt.

Nao has been cast as the weird, bitchy cast member, but she's been a successful artist for many years. You can see her art on her website hereShe's also on Facebook and Twitter under her real name.

John also appeared to be very frustrated and nervous during this episode. He said he doesn't like to attract a lot of attention to himself, because he's gay and people are always looking for something bad. John said he avoids that. He seemed like the nice guy of the bunch and the most normal, really. It must have been extra frustrating, since he won book cover challenge in Week 3.

Work of Art Judges looking at John's entry ... err piece ... how about ...  looking at John's art. That black hole, err I mean circle was added by Bravo. Notice he spelled fellatio wrong.

John's shocking idea was to depict a man performing self fellatio. He claims to know a guy who can actually do that. Anyone who's searched for porn on the internet might have already seen this act, but compared to what else is out there; it's pretty tame. When I saw a video of it, I found it oddly fascinating, but that's just me. The judges cracked me up when they said it would have been better if he had photographed himself trying to do it. What the hell??

Jamie Lynn drew a big cartoon of a shocking "Last Supper." She said it portrayed people doing bad things, rather than acting the way Christ had envisioned for us. I like the chandelier, otherwise, ho-hum.

None of the judges on the shows are artists, so they try and make up for that by inviting one as a guest judge each week. For the shock challenge, Andres Serrano helped out. The art on his website shows a lot of rotting corpse's and mutilation photo's; but people on the show raved about the infamous piece titled, "Piss Christ," shown above.

Metallica album cover, Load, by Serrano
 (It's supposedly urine and blood.)

The contestants knew it would be tough to shock this guy and they were right. Serrano liked Nao's work the best, but they ignored him and sent her home anyway. Why have a real artist on the show if you're not going to value his opinion? Oooh right, they're critic's who get to judge art, while never having created anything themselves. That makes perfect sense to me. Sheesh ... 

Judge Jerry Saltz & Andres Serrano looking at Jaclyn's lame porno.

As I thought about what I would do for this challenge, images of S&M popped into my head. One day, if I am inspired to do so, I'll show you what I was thinking. But I can't see doing art just for the sake of shock value. What's the point really? Bravo proved my point in this episode - it doesn't work.

Read Behind the Scene's by Jerry Salz, here.

Please read my previous reviews of "Work of Art."
Episode 1: Portraits, click here
Episode 2: Appliance Graveyard, click here.
Episode 3: Book Covers, click here.

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