WOA: A Veritable Mountain of Suck

Posted on October 24, 2011

Look, we stared at these pieces for a long time. We stroked our chins and furrowed our brows while we searched our inner thesaurus to come up with new and provocative ways of saying “This sucks.”

Because you know what? Most of this stuff sucks. If the judges couldn’t be bothered coming up with a critique, we’re certainly not going to waste our day trying to do it. Hit it, art whores:


Sara J.

Okay, so Sarah J. has, with the second consecutive such entry, established herself as the “Girls have a bagina” artist. Not that we have a problem with this piece. It’s probably among the better of the middle pieces.



And Kymia might just be the all-around “body part” artist. We didn’t mind this one, either. Although, like the previous entry, it seemed without message or intent except to produce something that moves.


Sarah K.

We thought this was one of two entries that really captured the concept originally dictated to them: motion. Not “migration,” or “movement,” but motion. The act of it and the idea of it. Your eye immediately grasps the motion here and fills in the direction and the speed of that motion spontaneously. It’s very simple but still highly interpretive.



This shit’s gonna get real old real quick.



SUPER-creepy. We give China credit for straddling that thing.



The other piece that did a superlative job of conveying both the act and the idea of motion. Also not the most original idea in the world, but hey, the guy who spun around in circles won the challenge.



You’re kidding, right?




It seems fairly cliched and shallow, but it certainly tells a story and represents motion by giving you the evidence of it, rather than trying to interpret it. It’s visually strong, but it feels like ground well trodden.


[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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  • Anonymous

    Man, they all kind of collectively lost it on this challenge.  Even the better pieces are just sort of adequate.  Jazz-Minh’s would make a nice magazine illustration.  Sort of the way Bayete’s would work as part of a commercial.

    • Anonymous

      Amen. You summed it up very well.  It did seem to be a case of everyone drinking the Kool-Aid and just losing their minds.

      I liked Leon’s take on the concept of motion the best out of all these, but I agree with TLo that it was nothing new. 

    • Anonymous

      I agree about Jazz-Minh’s working as a magazine illustration: I was thinking a brochure, or maybe in a banner at the top of a website. Likewise about Bayete’s working in a commercial – I said the same thing in a comment on the last post – something with pretentious narration linking the product (I’m thinking a smartphone) to something fundamental about life (perhaps, indeed, motion).

  • Really love Sarah’s.  Really don’t get most of them (of course, I’m the same person who had to rely on my vast array of useless knowledge in politics and fashion to get through an art history class — which btw, thanks guys!  I used fashion as the subject of a lot of my art history papers, and you two came in VERY handy:)

  • Anonymous

    Dear Sarah J: 
    Now that Summer’s Eve has gotten on the “Hail to the V” bandwagon, it is no longer cutting edge.  Try some other way to be controversial and in-everyone’s-face.

  • Anonymous

    Sarah K, Jazz-Minh and the guy who won were the only ones who produced anything that wasn’t silly and self-indulgent in this episode.  Sucklord and the tongue woman seem to be seriously disturbed. I found it fascinating that the concept of “motion” was so difficult for this group.

    • I have to confess that because of the spelling of her name (Jazz-Minh), I will be predisposed to hate everything she does.  Same with Sucklord.  At this point in my life – I just can’t with all that pretentious shit.

      • The spelling of “Jazz-Minh” KILLS me

      • Anonymous

        I wanted to hate her for that, too, but it’s probably her hippie parents’ fault.

        • Anonymous

          I have to wonder if, given that they were hippie-types, her parents WANTED her to grow up to be a pretentious artist. 

  • I agree with both of your picks among the middle that actually expressed movement!

    Sara K’s gave me the shivers though since I recently had to do a very long 3d art project involving balsa wood and hot glue

    I really love Jazz minh’s piece. Especially looking at the photo of it. I like that Jazz included mixed media into it, the photo breaking away and being simplified. I REALLY love how the brick stones beneath them were cut and done in a way that created a diagonal line that really pushed depth into the piece and brought the viewer into the photo. I thought that was incredibly clever.

    • Anonymous

      Oh, I hadn’t noticed that until I looked again after reading your comment. That IS kinda cool. 

      I’m still liking this show. So much better than PR, which I haven’t watched the last three episodes of–after watching every season in total since Season 2! 

  • I think sometimes when artists are given a basic concept, they fear that anything they do may be too literal or simple. So they compensate and try to be clever in all the wrong ways.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t bring myself to watch this shit, blah!  Hate the whole concept.  But….. I do really like Sarah’s sculpture a lot.  To me, the hallmark of a good work of art is it is visually appealing without any explanation.  Her peice has wonderful balance, light and the essence of movement.  I like it.  “Sucklord”?  REALLY!?!?  How pretentious and affected…

  • Joshua

    lol, I forgot how crap some of these pieces were until today. Thanks, guys. I think the only thing that saved the sucklord was the fact he was in the winning team. I have to admit he is acting quite a lot more mature than I thought he would be, and while his critiques of others seem spot on at times, he has glaringly limited self-awareness.

  • MilaXX

    ef’ I liked Jazz Minh’s & the Sarah K’s. No sure what happened they they couldn’t grasp a seemingly simple challenge.

  • Anonymous

    Yes,  Sarh’s kiddie ride and Jazz’ were the most interesting to me. It dealt with the motion in a good way. Young’s was such pretentious BS. I would have loved the judges to give him a verbal bicthslapping

  • I thought that Sarah K (“Kiddie Ride”) should have won this challenge.  I disliked all the rest, from what I remember, and have forgotten most of them.  I still cannot believe “spin around in circles guy” won.  I cannot stand him and at this point he is my least favorite contestant.  Sucklord and Lola are tied for 2nd least faves.  I was very disappointed in this episode after such a strong opening episode.  But I’ll keep watching because I’m fascinated by this show.

  • “Gonna get old”?

    More like “half-past old.”

  • This episode’s art was pretty weak. We’ll see what happens this week before I pass judgement on who needs to leave already. Although The Sucklord may be on the top of that list already.

  • Anonymous

    “Tlo said: This shit’s gonna get real old real quick.”

    Yes, his shit got old for me as quick as it took him to introduce himself as ‘sucklord’.


    • Anonymous

      For someone who seems to have an allergy to others’ pretentions, he doesn’t seem to get that calling himself “The Sucklord” is as pretentious as it gets.

      • Anonymous

        It seems to be a disease among the youths (i.e., under 30) of today that they need to have a “brand” instead of a name. 

        • He’s in his forties.

          • Anonymous

            Gulp! Point taken. So am I, so I can blame my generation first.

        • John Manson

          I think his naming of himself has more to do with performance artist culture than with “branding” that “the young people” do. 

          • Anonymous

            Is he a performance artist? I thought he made toys. Either way, it’s part of the same disease.

          • John Manson

            Well he does seem make toys and other objects but in the intro footage for him at the beginning of the first episode there was a lot of him in these costumes and stuff and it does seem like his work even if it might not be explicitly performance art has a performative quality to it – ie. the whole “sucklord” thing, naming himself/giving himself a persona, is part of the work. 

          • Anonymous

            I suppose in that context a name like that makes sense, but it’s still pretty pretentious.

          • Anonymous

            Oh yea it’s still insanely pretentious; i agree. 

      • If you aren’t in U2, you don’t get to have “The” in his name.

        • Now I am The Bee

          Well–I always thought U2 was totally pretentious. 

  • Anonymous

    Instead of always trying to be so conceptual, I’d like to see a challenge to “Paint, draw or sculpt something someone would like to buy and hang in their home” Something that doesn’t scare children. Then pick the prettiest one to win. How about looking at it from another direction? The Project Runway equivalent of designing for a customer other than yourself.

  • I’m not sure if anyone else has mentioned this in the comments yet, but I’ve really enjoyed reading judge Jerry Saltz’s recaps of the episodes this season, courtesy of NY Magazine: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/10/work_of_art_recap_jerry_saltz_1.html

    They’re a neat peek behind the curtain, sort of like Tim Gunn’s podcasts of PR back in the day.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you! I went looking for this today and couldn’t find it.

    • Thanks for the link. I hope Bravo doesn’t stifle his words.

    • Thanks for the link. He makes a good point that what he sees in three dimensions is substantively different than what we can see on screen.

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t believe by how wide a margin they missed the mark here.  Not a single piece was even remotely kinetic.  And while I get it — you don’t have to recreate the exact kind of movement of the parkour folks — given that that was the specific inspiration, you’d think there’d be a piece or two that captures that.  Still, it beats poop.  Or was that the other group?

  • Judy_J

    It’s almost like they went to central casting for “artist types who think they are avant garde but who really have pedestrian talent at best.”  They’re trying way too hard to be “out there” with their art.  Why don’t they try actually listening to the challenge and then thoughtfully trying to achieve it?  Oh, but I guess REAL artists don’t want to have their vision tainted by rules or guidelines. Riiiiight……

    • John Manson

      Just to clarify, the notion of the avant garde relates to approach rather than to talent/facility/training. Secondly, you have no insight as to whether or not these people are “trying to be out there” or if this is sincerely how they approach their work and how they think about making art objects. It’s not about being too proud to follow rules or guidelines it seemed like they were honestly trying to make things that would be interesting to the judges and keep them in the competition, but that fear/anxiety of elimination just got most of them carried away in some very bizarre directions. 

      • Judy_J

        Thank you, John.  I feel so much better about it now.

  • Anonymous

    The problem I have with Sucktard’s work is not only that it, well, sucks but also it seems to have zero introspective realization of how adolescent it all is. I mean come on, the guy is 42 – FORTY TWO – yet seems to think he’s still some 16 year old skater nerd who loves LOTR. He’s like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused where it all kind of borders on Dirty Old Man. And for a 42 year old to come up with this half-assed idea and think he’s in any way original is kind of sad and delusional. 

  • Anonymous

    Loved Jazz-Minh’s. Great picture that fully captures the concept of the challenge.

  • Lori

    Sarah K. should have won, her piece was more original and provocative than Bayete’s, although Jery Saltz insists Bayete’s had to be experienced in person,. 

    Jazz-Minh’s is a beautiful photograph but it seemed to come from a place of ‘take a picture of me’.  Credit goes to whoever took the photo.  Maybe I’m just having flashbacks of the woman last season who photographed herself for almost every challenge.

    I found the Sucklord funny and charming in the first episode, and parts of his web site provocative and witty, and even I’m over him already.  I found the piece Simon de Pury auctioned of his and it was underwhelming.

  • Anonymous

    Holy crap! I did’t read the post about the looser; that was WORSE than this dreck? 

  • Anonymous

    I wanted to hate Jazz-Minh on the basis of her name alone, but I actually like her. Her first painting of Lola as that funny Jewish folk character kind of hung around in the recesses of my mind for a while. It’s the only thing that kept coming back to me.

    I think the judges were overly critical of the “circles” theme — yeah, the way the artist described it wasn’t exactly expressed with great erudition, but there’s a reason they are visual artists, not writers. Fact is, the cyclical form of movement they were basing their work around is, yes, basic, but can be very interesting. From the digestion/pooping cycle the other group was talking about to the cycles of the moon and nature to concepts of the universe and infinity, it has great potential, and they judges totally dismissed it as “circles.” 

    I think both groups were suffering under the annoyance that surely comes to artists who are being told what to do and were over-thinking their themes out of resistance. 

  • Anonymous

    I did love that Simon called them all on the carpet and told them to start over.  Kinda sad that it seemingly didn’t help that much!  Then again, we could be looking at stomachs and piles of poop instead.  Ugh.

    They always seem to find a heapin’ helpin’ of artists who always default to sexual images as being “edgy.”  The tongue sculpture was just ridiculous.  Wasn’t a big fan of Michelle(?)’s pedophile sculpture either.  Oooh, controversial!  It must be deep!

    I’m hoping they get it together this week and produce some stuff that’s worthy of talking about.

  • Anonymous

    Young’s flag is supposed to represent the earthquake in Japan.  Yeah, right.  I now know where the term bullshit artist comes from.  Thanks WOA!

    • Anonymous

      Hey, at least someone got to do a poop piece!

  • Toto Maya

    I’ve come to accept that I just don’t get art. I read these posts, and I honestly can’t tell why the ones you praise are good and the ones you hate are bad. I just don’t understand it at all, it completely goes over my head. The only thing I can judge is whether or not it is aesthetically pleasing, which I know is shallow and now the point. Seriously though, what is this art shit about?

    • In the end, art is really only successful for a particular viewer if you have some emotional response to it, whether it be based on aesthetics, a feeling it gives you, or a thought process it leads you to have. You can like a piece of art for any reason at all, and if you respond to art based on how beautiful it appears to you, that is a totally valid way for you to approach art, there is no objectively right or wrong answer to what is good and not good, and reasonable minds can definitely differ!

      There really isn’t a right or wrong answer for any individual about what is “good” or not – if you look at a piece of art and you are drawn to it, and want to look at it more, or if it inspires some emotion in you, or makes you think about something, then it is successful for you, and screw what anyone else thinks. The art industry is generally just trying to predict what will be the most marketable, ie, what will impress the most people enough to give it value.

      • scottyf


      • Toto Maya

        I guess, but when I read these WOA recaps, all of the art just looks like garbage. Maybe that’s part of the challenge, they didn’t explain it.

      • Anonymous

        And, the more art you look at, the more you define what moves you and what makes you say “meh.” (Both are reasonable responses.)

      • BuffaloBarbara

        I don’t actually buy that there are no standards, and art is all about what you feel.  There is such a thing as excellence, and it really ought to be recognized.

        • Oops, I didn’t mean to say there are no standards!  There certainly are, but ultimately unless you choose to become a student of a particular art form, your response is necessarily going to be purely emotional and I think there’s nothing wrong with that. There will always be a segment of highly interested and well-educated people who can evaluate works based on technical, cultural and historical standards of excellence and that is great because it gives a priority for saving things for posterity, but that doesn’t invalidate a person who just happens to find Monet boring because they personally don’t appreciate it aesthetically, and of course even the most educated critics can differ on whether a creative work is truly excellent or not.

          • BuffaloBarbara

            I guess what I’d like to see is more general education on the subject… time in school spent on art appreciation, so that kids can articulate why they think Monet (or impressionism in general) is boring, and learn about the times and styles that they don’t find boring.  Learn why art changed along the way, what the different movements meant to accomplish, etc.  They may find some of the reasons trivial (I know I looked up pop art last night, and just kind of rolled my eyes at the assertion that, since advertising had gotten so artistic, artists were scrambling to separate “art” from other things… really?  “I don’t wanna be like the icky kids” is a reason?) and ultimately reject X,  Y, or Z altogether… but at least they’d know why and what it’s about.  I don’t think even art students are getting a lot of that, unfortunately.

  • Anonymous

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason why I always get a headache when I go to MoMA.

  • Anonymous

    Edited: Apparently, I felt obliged to make a comment longer than the actual post…

    Sarah K.’s was easily my favourite – I think it captured the idea of motion in a simple, but not literal, way. On top of which, it fit the theme of her team’s overall collection without abandoning that actual theme of the challenge. It was also significantly different, although similar in the sense that one could see the same artist doing both, to her previous work. Given that her work in the last episode was also one of my favourites, and yet not in the top, I am predicting she will be the one who is continually, per the vernacular, robbed – or at least that I will feel that way.

    Jazz-Minh’s was also good, but given that it was one of only two non-awful pieces on her team, it clearly was not in the running for the win. The picture itself, while interesting (and I was impressed by her acrobatic skills), was a little too done and done in a decidedly non-art context – in that sense to me it was similar to Bayete’s, which reminded me of a TV commercial, but I do think that incorporating it into a mixed media work elevated it somewhat from its advertisement/brochure image feel.

    I liked Leon’s as well, though it was not the most original of concepts and the concept was never that deep. Nevertheless, it was neither literal nor irrelevant to the theme and that turns out to be high praise.

    Now, the rest:
    Sara J. She doesn’t merit being the bottom this time, certainly, and while she was in the top last time, her execution leaves me cold. Both times, in fact, on a technical level her style just seemed done and done by a lot of 16 year olds with an interest in art (I am fond of “done and done…” constructions today). But I am particular about the technical aspects of artwork. Unfortunately for her, the same can probably be said about her concepts.

    Kymia. This one absolutely belongs to the same group as Sara J.’s – they are more alike than perhaps any two other pieces shown. It has the same flaws and the same merits – although I respond to the execution of it better than the other on a technical level.

    The Sucklord. I give him credit for being the one, it would seem the only one, who knew that “digestion” made no sense, but this was, down to his carny act to accompany it, just a game set in an art gallery and thereby called art.

    Dusty. Creepy indeed. And didn’t express what he intended for it to express.

    Young. I like Young and he seems to be smart about his experience there (i.e. invoking of the foreshadowing gods), but this piece means nothing. He talked about how it called to mind the earthquake and tsunami in Japan – and it did not, except to him. It’s all concept and no art.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with most of your points, and found this to be a very thoughtfully written post. Thanks for the effort. Sometimes I’m up for doing that myself, but this time I’m not. I told my husband it was all artsy-fartsy crap for this second go-round and I was only looking forward to what TLo and the kittens had to say.

      I don’t get Leon’s at all. I have no clue what he was trying to do. I liked Sarah K. (she is the only artist I’ve liked both episodes) and Jazz-Minh this episode. Sara J., Kymia, and Dusty all have creepy, childish, and silly elements, Sucklord’s is just childish and silly, with nothing thought provoking to spend any viewer time on with any of them. I wish Young could have come up with something which did call to mind the tsunami and earthquake for the rest of us. It’s a great concept which failed completely.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you! And you’re welcome. I understand completely about the sometimes/sometimes not feeling – I am the same way and that’s why I don’t know that I could ever do what TLo do. With this season of PR, for example, there have been so many times where I’ve thought, “This just doesn’t deserve any comment.” For whatever reason, though, I had a bit to say about this.

        I think Leon’s was a narrative piece about the result of motion, the aftermath of things thrown in a fight, the light swinging in a circle, the broken window – it’s a little bit of a stretch to me, because it seems more about suggesting the argument than motion itself, but, compared with “digestion”, it’s right on target. But I, too, wish Young had made his concept clear to the audience, because it was interesting, but his piece was sterile and empty: I just this past week saw S1 for the first time, so it’s fresh in my mind, but in that sense Young’s piece reminded me of Miles – though, of course, he would have had some plywood contraption involved. I do wonder/fear if Young might be one of those artists who thinks “It means this to me, therefore it means this to other people.” Or perhaps he was kidding.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    I don’t understand why so many of them felt a need to sexualize the pieces… do they really believe that somehow that’s the deepest commentary they could make on the concept of “motion”?  REALLY?  As to Sara J–I kind of liked the piece until she pointed out that, for some reason, a sculpture of a girl on a swing was showing her hoo-ha.  To what end? What does that say about the motion concept?  How does it relate to the rest of the sculpture?  If you’re just putting it in to put it in, then it’s not doing anything and not contributing to the effect of the art.  So, while it didn’t in itself detract from the sculpture, I do tend to think that it diminishes my opinion of her as an artist, since it seems to be an irrelevant bit of business that she feels a need to stick onto everything, kind of like Kathryn and her viscera.

    Sucklord gets points for his behavior in the challenge–being the sane person who said, “Wait a minute, what the hell does this have to do with motion?”–but not for his piece which, aside from having moving parts, also didn’t have much to say about motion.  The reason I liked Bayete’s piece wasn’t that he twirled around literally made art that moved; it was that it at least made an attempt to comment on the nature of motion (in this case, equating it with childhood joy and innocence).  It didn’t just move and then call itself a commentary on motion.  Leon’s? Meh.

    Jazz-minh?  Not terribly original, but a pretty striking piece nonetheless.

    Sarah K’s was definitely cool and should have been in the top three, though I’m not sure it was displayed to its best effect.  Dusty’s was a crazy mountain of creepy, but I don’t think he realized it… or worse, he decided at some point that “creepy” was synonymous with “artistic.”

    Young?  I’m with you guys… he’s got to be kidding.

  • Cherrie H

    I had such high hopes for this season but that was based upon the first episode and now back to reality (or should I say reality tv). This season is as pretentious and confounding as last season. I love reading your recaps, they help me stop the head scratching.

  • Ledasmom

    I always wonder whether one should consider the title as an integral part of the work, or as a nice extra. I loved Sarah K. calling her piece “Kiddie Ride”: my first reaction that it’s much too precipitous for a kiddie ride, and then that, of course, it’s the perfect, perfectly safe kiddie ride – since it’s ridden only with the eyes. An excessively literal interpretation by me no doubt, but no more literal than most of the artists were with this challenge – how did they make things actually in motion look so dreadfully static?

  • Anonymous

    You know, how Young didn’t manage to get in the bottom 3 I have no idea. It’s a shiny flag. It is nothing. Tewes and Lola might have also had nothing, but at least their nothing wasn’t also haphazardly tied to a natural disaster in a desperate stab at relevance.

  • Loved Sarah K.’s. Motion in the simplest terms. With lines. I kinda wish it wasn’t so grounded and instead more aerial, the “shelf” part of the display board is so stark that it seems to flatten out the piece and mess with the balance a bit, but nonetheless, it completely embodied the challenge without going “Hey, check out this boner/tongue/vajayjay.”

    I really don’t mind that Leon’s was so cliche. I think it’s a little sad to see that artists seem to believe that the essence of art is doing something that no one’s ever seen before, as opposed to finding what’s new to say within yourself. To quote a favorite Sondheim show, “Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new.” Anyway, I feel like Leon’s definitely a contender. His piece communicated well and was one of the few I remembered for this challenge in a good way.

  • Hit was my favorite piece.

    • Anonymous

      Mine too. Mostly I liked how he incorporated the revolution of the light to reveal pieces of the scene one by one.

  • The only ones here that I thought totally sucked were Young’s and Sucklord’s.  Those would be embarrassing to have in any exhibition.  The rest were adequate but cliched (Kymia and Leon), but at least Sarah and Jazz-Minh did something that had the challenge in mind.  I actually loved Sarah’s piece and was shocked when they chose the top two over her.

  • John Manson

    The more I think about it, the more Sarah K (the abstract roller coaster) should have won. First of all, it best addressed and dealt with the inspiration of “motion.” Secondly she did the best job of incorporating the confines of the challenge into her own aesthetic and way of working (she’s an installation artist who seems to always employ more than a touch of whimsy). On another note, I really don’t hate Young’s piece as much as you guys do. Although it is deceptively simple-looking and really abstractly suggests or more implicates motion, it’s also quite bold and conceptual without being pretentious or fussy. 

    • Ledasmom

      On thinking about it, I don’t like Young’s piece because it’s such a heavy, ponderous flag – with the relatively light air movement indoors, it just hangs there. With lighter material or less volume I think it would have worked better – it’s not so much that it would have to move to fit the theme, but this particular flag looks like a flag purposefully designed not to move, almost as much as an actual metal or concrete flag would. It looks oxymoronic.

  • Anonymous


  • Now I am The Bee

    Oh.  I just now got Leon’s piece.   Just now!   
    As it was shown during the show–I didn’t hear any explanation or get a good look at it. 
    Now I get it.   It’s an interesting idea–just not executed well. Turned out …eh…dumb.  As were the rest of the entries.  Though I did like the rollercoaster–which does draw the eye up and down and all around.

  • vmcdanie

    Not only did China straddle that art, she did it in a dress. I must say, I admire her non-camera whoring moxie and presence.

    I did like Jazz-Minh’s piece. I thought the way she mounted it was interesting. I’m really liking her even though the way she spells her name pisses me off.

    Also, the more I look at it the more I like Sara’s weird vagina swinger even though it doesn’t make me think of dynamic motion.

    I was a little worried about his entry but I still am a Sucklord fan.

  • finnleymae

    Does anyone else remember Sucklord from the show “Can’t Get a Date?”