It's time to SELL OUT on Work of Art, Episode 8. More than usual, that is. The artists are herded to Tribeca where they're confronted by those tables that people pull out for office-party events, topped with cash boxes lined up just so. Kymia doesn't like the look of those cash boxes and how right she is!
This challenge will require teams of two artists to make art to sell on the street, which they will then translate to fine art for a gallery show afterward. The team with the most sales will win $30,000 and will gain immunity from being eliminated. They have five hours to conceive of, shop for, and make the street art, then one hour to alter that art for a gallery show. This makes for A VERY BAD CHALLENGE. And we're about to see some shitty, half-ass, thoughtless art. But Bravo doesn't care because Lola gets naked.
And so they begin. Sara J. picks Young to be on her team because Young is a winner, at least on this show. He's going to make colorful happy-face underpants in honor of his pert butt, as well as humorous Sharpie drawings on canvas--damn the consequences come gallery-show time. Sara will make pen-and-ink washes and figurative sketches since she's done that a lot and has even sold some on the street before. Go with your strengths, Sara--smart move.
Team Kymia and Dusty plot their course. Dusty's making T-shirts and signs with an outline-map of America surrounding a surveillance camera because he's noticed a lot of them in the city and, "We're always being watched in this country." No, Dusty, no! I mentioned in a past recap that US maps and flags do not tend to win art contests. If only he could have read my blog before this challenge--I could have helped.
Kymia's making postcards that will support an artist (herself!) because postcards and mail in general are so popular these days. Actually, mail art has a long and underground history and if she had chosen to go this route, she might have come up with something subversive and darkly humorous, like "Save The U.S. Mail, Mail this Postcard," or some such thing. Instead she stencils "Support Art" or something equally dull and the results are not going to save herself or the mail. She switches gears and decides to sell her signature in the hopes of making it big one day, while trading for her customers' signatures, for a gallery-show display. As mentor Simon De Pury would say, "Good lllllluck, KYMIA!"
Team Sarah K. and Lola are toiling at paper cut-out feather headdresses (for that "hipster, Native-American look," explains Sarah, to politically correct groans across the nation), boob-stencil T-shirts, and a naked photo of Lola emblazoned with her darkest secrets across the front. Bravo's censorship regulations are put to the full test. Naked Lola getting her picture took by Sarah is strategically blurred, but her full-frontal photo is not. Something for everyone.
Sidewalk sale! There is much hawking of wares on the streets of Tribeca. People are kind of going for Young's underpants but they really like Sara J.'s line drawings and she sells out, then has a Plan B--she'll draw and paint quick portraits for ten bucks a pop. Her portraits are great--squiggly and personable with just enough oddness to be interesting but not insulting. She's raking it in! Simon's visit has him rrrreally liking one of her nudes, exposing a backside and vulva, but I think he refrains from buying it so she'll have something to show at gallery time.
Dusty sells shirts and Kymia trades in signatures. Simon doesn't find either of their products compelling, causing Kymia to Totally Stress Out, but we're moving on to the wild-and-free tabletop of Lola and Sarah. Sarah is wearing a construction-paper feather head-dress and a T-shirt with a lopsided rendition of boobs on it. Kymia notes that she looks like a crackhead. A very colorful one.
Lola is selling large and small self-portraits and also individual secrets, including a 25-cent one that she whispers to a 3-year-old, making her cry. Toddlers don't have too many secrets so maybe conceptually, this was hard for the baby to absorb. Lola is very good at selling herself and admits that she's excited about it as well. One guy buys her portrait for $100. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! What recession? Lola offers hugs and doe-eyed glances for a price as well. What a challenge this is--I think I may be sick.
Finally, this uncomfortable-to-watch whoring of themselves ends and everyone's back in the studio, trying to make sense of it all. Lola has it easy--just mount that portrait and you're golden. Except that everyone gets to see her life-sized nakedness. "She's just selling herself," says Kymia, who got naked for an environmental cause back in the Pop-art challenge. It's not selling out if it's for the environment! And we are all nature's children, by the way, some of us with mustache hair that must be plucked, as Lola notes on her portrait of secrets.
Some of the other artists struggle to come to terms with having one hour to make their street art gallery ready. Young paints a depiction of underpants on canvas, rather than face the prospect of actually having to hang underpants on the gallery wall somehow. This will come back to bite him--right in his pert, firm buttocks. Dusty similarly doesn't want to hang T-shirts up, like some salesman in the Macy's boyswear department, so he makes a road sign instead. Sarah K. is frantically snipping away at paper feathers, thinking they might look like male genitalia if she cuts and pastes them just so. She'll have a female and male representation with feather headdresses to depict...lameness. I'm getting tired so I'll try and wrap up.
Gallery show! Dusty's surveillance cam is mistaken for a toner cartridge and a burrito in a mailbox. That can't be good and the judges take him to task for a.) showing another map of the U.S., and b.) not being able to draw a surveillance camera to their liking.
Young is chewed out for painting underpants instead of showing underpants. Guest judge Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn is especially incensed that he would only deem them worthy of judging paintings instead of underpants. For God's sakes, Young--show her your happy underpants!
Sara gets a good critique. The judges want to see more of her portraits and host China Chow wishes she had been at the sale to get her portrait done. That would be a stressful sitting since China seems to be a judge this season. Sara sold a boat-load of sketches, putting their team in the lead and winning the $30,000. Nice work if you can get it, Young! Sara carried his underpanted ass on this one.
Lola is also a judge fave. When Jerry Saltz and Bill Powers first see her nude form upon the gallery wall, their eyes pop out of their sockets while their tongues lap the floor and sweat tears burst from their heads and old-fashioned car horns blow. Then they spring to their feet, jumping, clapping and wolf-whistling in approval. In reality, Jerry's eyebrows raise to the point where he has a temporary face-lift. Everyone digs Lola's secrets (Simon is especially and adorably appreciative of the pubic-hair aspect), but I'm here to tell you that back in the 90s, Secret Antiperspirant had an early-era Internet contest where you could submit a secret to their site and I think the winner got a life-time supply of antiperspirant or something. Also, Lola's piece reminds me of that OMD song, "Secret," and that's not necessarily good.
Lola is out of luck because the prize goes to the highest sellers, not the best work of art. It sucks to sell out and not even get the cash in the end.
Kymia squeaks by with her array of signature-postcards. Jerry likes all the individuality on display, but they're kind of stale-looking on my TV. I guess people do have nice handwriting in the close-ups. I wish she could have put some art in there but I'm biased because I like mail art.
Oh boy, Sarah K. is in big trouble with her piece, which is sad. Even she knows it's sad and that's too bad, because Sarah is the most affable reality-show contestant I've seen in a long time. She's downright jolly. But despite her near-win in last week's Fiat 500 challenge, she's been petering out challenge after challenge and this is her last hurrah, which is more like a bad grade-school project with naughty bits stenciled on. Even the naughty bits don't look naughty. They look kind of cruddy.
The artists only had a few hours to throw this together and mostly it shows. That's no way to treat art, Bravo producers! Give the audience some decent art. Colorful underpants don't count!
And now for the Work of Art-inspired artwork of the recap. You know those caricature-drawing guys at street festivals and amusement parks? I pretended to be one of those guys and did a "portrait" of Team Sara and Young. I commend Sara for her on-the-spot portraits she made during this challenge. It's going to take a lot of practice before I can even attempt such a thing and even then, I think I'd have more success (depending on how you label "success") attempting to be one of those caricature guys.
Next week: Double elimination Americana art--and China wears a trench jacket.