The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011

Work of Art: S1E2 Part 1: Egos & A-Holes

Smell HER.

For us, last night's episode was an affirmation of our entire take on the show going into it: that this is every inch a reality show first and foremost, with all that entails. That means staging, camera whores, crack judging and strategizing. Which is really good news to us because that means we can be our usual bitchy (mid to) lowbrow selves.

Anyway, the challenge was to create a sculptural piece using at least one piece from an appliance graveyard. It's interesting to note that so far, the challenges are basic Project Runway challenges (dress a fellow designer, unconventional materials) only slightly refitted for artists instead of fashion designers. Like we said in our earlier post about the show, this is, if nothing else, a slick production in the Bravo mode. They're going with a proven formula.

So congratulations to Miles once again. The judges have anointed their Golden Boy for the season. It'll be interesting to note how the whims of the judges play out and how they compare to the holy trinity of Michael, Nina, and Heidi.

We propose to you that last night's winning entry was a classic pushing-the-judges'-buttons maneuver in the best manner of Santino or Jeffrey. The very second he went there, we knew he'd won it. Not because it was the best, but because it's just the kind of thing those judges would get moist over. At least Bill had the good sense to point out that the concrete assholes were taking it a step too far.

Then again, maybe the similarity to classic Project Runway judging moments is an indication of the producers' input to the judging process. Like we said, they're going with what works.

We're just sayin' is all.

We thought this was the clear winner.

Used TVs in sculpture and installation pieces can really lapse into cliche very easily, but this had a haunting quality to it and it was a great use of the materials.

And speaking of cliche uses for old TVs...

Video killed the radio star, bitches. We didn't share the judges' affection for this piece although we were impressed with his sculpting skills.

As for the bottom three:

This was - we're sorry - kind of hilariously bad. Jerry nailed it when he said it looked like a display window. We were thinking the exact same thing. Her first reaction to the challenge was "I'm a painter!" and she never broke out of that mindset. This is staging + painting, but it's not art.

This, on the other hand, was just painting.

Seems like she also got locked in the mindset of a painter and couldn't really work in 3 dimensions. This also has an artsy-craftsy quality to it that doesn't help.

We wanted to like this.

It felt like he was starting from a strong point conceptually and then suddenly had a bad mood in the middle of conceiving it.

This just came out of nowhere. It's possible he thought he was being clever but it came off a little harsher than that.

And this was way too self-indulgently insider. Forcing Jerry to ask "Who is Tom Friedman?" when basic common sense dictates that he already knows, was so stagey and so playing to the audience that we tsk'd in annoyance.

And then there was this:

"I'm sorry. This piece is distractingly boring."

Yeah. Not cute. Way too obvious camera-whoring. Meet Santino 2.0. This time, with OCD!

There's no discussing Miles without addressing the elephant in the room. His hometown paper had a few things to say about him:

"An odd little controversy has accompanied Mendenhall's Bravo debut ever since a local gossip website suggested in April that the artist may have used the show to pull off an elaborate piece of performance art. According to a post on L'Etoile magazine's LOL/OMG blog, Mendenhall had worked closely with a former professor to concoct a ready-made personality for "Work of Art" -- that of an obsessive-compulsive disorder-stricken artist fighting through a host of quirks and obsessions.

The idea apparently was not for Mendenhall to act, necessarily; the artist says he does actually suffer from OCD. The goal, supposedly, was to create an ersatz version of himself, a not-so-altered ego for the altered reality of reality TV. Think "Second Life," only more excruciatingly theoretical."

You say "potato," we say "patahto," you say "performance art" we say "reality TV camera-whoring." We're just sayin' is all. Go read the whole thing.

So Trong goes home, which surprised us a bit. We kinda wonder if it was a little smackdown for badmouthing the genre. You don't speak ill of The Family, y'know? Still, we would have sent Jaime Lynn home on this one.

[Photo Credit: - Screencaps:]

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