WOA: The Rise of The Sucklord

Posted on October 13, 2011

It’s BACK, darlings!

And y’know? We kind of missed it. We didn’t even realized we liked it all that much until this episode got underway and we found ourselves all caught up in the proceedings. Since we’ve pretty much reached the end of our rope when it comes to the mess that calls itself Project Runway, allow us to make some comparisons.
First, the fabulous China Chow in a Dion Lee dress. Why is the host of this show infinitely more stylish than the leg-baring, increasingly cougar-ish host of Project Runway? Second, Simon de Pury, who is what Tim Gunn used to be before he either got marginalized from, or lost interest in, the proceedings; sharp, clever, enthusiastic and just bizarre enough to make you wonder why this man is on your television. Together, they make a great pair. Jerry is the Nina of the group and we’re all for someone playing Bad Judge, but he does have to tone it down a bit. He’s playing to the cameras too much. Bill seems to be high throughout the judging process, but he occasionally blurts out something meaningful.

And no B-list actresses sitting in the guest judge seat for this show:

No, it’s an honest to god artist who isn’t there to play to the cameras, knows how to give a critique…

… and has the iconic, if not downright legendary bona fides to back up her opinions. Sure, we can get all huffy about the commoditization of art and dumbing it down for a mass audience, but the fact that there’s a show on TV that actually talks about art at all and brings the viewer into both the creative and the critical processes is pretty damn cool.

We thought, when the bios of the contestants were first released, that we were looking at a bunch of photogenic attention whores and camera hogs, and while there was plenty of playing to the cameras (Sucklord), we were astonished at how talented the majority of this cast really is. Their introductory self-portrait pieces were almost all of fairly high quality, thoughtfulness, and aesthetic value.

Besides, The Sucklord is a superstar. You know it’s true. He clearly wants to be on TV and if Bravo gave him his own hipster-geek artist TV show after this season, we wouldn’t complain a bit.
We even liked the challenge. There’s a criticism – one that we’ve made in the past and one that we won’t deny is still evident – that the show is more “crafty” than “arty,” but that’s a conceit you’re going to have to accept if you want to watch. Project Runway is no more about the real world of fashion than this show is about art. It’s about watching talented, creative people jump through hoops while displaying their own creative processes and a bit of what makes them artists. In other words, it’s what Project Runway used to be before the producers decided we all wanted to watch people fight all the time.

So congrats to Michelle. We’re calling it now: she’s One To Watch.
This was shockingly good, both from a technical perspective as well as an aesthetic one. Paper art can get awfully folksy and craftsy in less talented hands, but if we were walking through a gallery, this would stop us in our tracks.

And we thought her entry this week was quietly beautiful and serene, with a dark undertone that raised it up. She took the kitschiest piece of roadside art you could find and turned it into something ethereal and thought-provoking.

Also – not gonna lie – we loved her dress.

Let’s look at the other ladies in the top 3 before we get to the men on the bottom.
We were struck by Sara’s technique. She’s very good, but we’re a bit concerned that she’s going to be the stereotypical “dark, tortured” soul.

And truth be told, her entry didn’t exactly banish those thoughts.
Granted, she almost had to produce something dark considering she managed to zero in on the one piece of kitsch in the room that was pretty dark to begin with.
We’re more than confused as to what the rules of the challenge were. We thought – and apparently so did many of the artists – that they were supposed to use some recognizable part of the original piece and rethink it, but she merely made her own piece based on the original. The judges didn’t seem to mind and we suspect the dictates of the challenge were deliberately fluid so the artists could interpret them however they look.

Her work reminds us of children’s book illustrations, only very dark and with a violent, sexual undertone.
We thought we weren’t going to like Lola, since she seemed awfully self-indulgent and appeared to be going for the camera time by waiting until the last second to pick her inspiration piece and then fucking around with it for too long without any concept of what she was doing.

And even when she seemed to pull it together, we weren’t inclined to like the direction she was going in. “I hate my childhood” is quite the tiresome cliche, after all. But this work was interesting and thought-provoking and gave you that tension between the light and the heavy; the elusive and the permanent. It was a perfect deconstruction/reconstruction of the original and expressed her inner self very well.

It’s au revoir to Ugo and we has a sad. Not that we didn’t think he deserved to go, but we’re sad the pretty has gone from our TV so soon.
We both blurted out “KEITH HARING” the second we saw this. Either he’s stubborn or he’s delusional because everybody who had anything to say about his work said the same thing and he didn’t seem to think it was an issue at all.

Haring’s work is so distinct that if you’re going to attempt to work in the same style, you better bring something new to the table. Otherwise, you might as well start painting soup cans or sunflowers. We’re going with delusional for him, because he seemed to have left thinking the problem was the red background when in fact the problem was what everyone told him it was: he was ripping off a very famous artist.
We didn’t have high hopes for Bayete when we saw his self-portrait. It couldn’t have been less inspired or more of a cliche.

And the same could be said for his final piece. As the judges noted, it ultimately said nothing. What he claimed it was trying to say just wasn’t evident and the piece itself was overdone and ugly. It was a series of buzzwords in art form.
We know he’s going to be a huge dick at some point and we’ll probably wind up hating him, but for now we find The Sucklord to be a breath of fresh air in a sea of pretension.

We tend to think his ability to work the camera and be entertaining had more to do with his non-elimination because this was painfully bad. Sure, he admitted it, but that doesn’t take away from its awfulness. He’d have been better off picking an original piece that wasn’t so nerd-specific and imposing his nerd sensibilities on it, rather than picking something that was already nerdy and just doing it over. We think there’s a place for his work in the art world (as does Simon, apparently, since he sold some of his pieces), but he’s going to have to learn to tailor his downtown hipster-geek toy aesthetic to the competition. Playing to the camera is only going to get him so far.

We’ll get to to the other artists later, but what did the minions think of last night’s show and this season’s cast?

[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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  • Joe J

    Didn’t care for his work and I still don’t find him particularly amusing, but I expect Sucklord to be around for a while.  Not just because he’s A Character, but he also seems to have that most-valuable skill of turd-polishing down pat – the ability to argue an F-minus into a D-plus.

    Having said that, I actually found myself disliking Tewz way more than any of the other artists. That boy needs to shut his pretentious-self-loving-I’m-a-bad-boy piehole yesterday.

    • MilaXX

      Tewz lost me with his gay remark about room sharing. Has he not watched enough reality tv to know he wont be spending enough time in that room or that bed for anybody to think twice about his peen?

      • That, and the fact that Bravo reality show contracts have a clause specifically prohibiting contestant hanky-panky during production.

    • As you know, I had an immediate dislike of  The Sucklord, but he really grew on me. He’s just a big old nerd doing something he genuinely loves to do. Yeah, he’s camera ready, and I think he’ll be the divisive one this year, but he made me laugh more than a couple times, and I’m interested in seeing what he does.

      And seriously, Tewz is the one I also ended up wanting to punch. Good for him. He’s been to jail for his art. He took us back to what you said last night, Joe, about the phrases people are not allowed to use to describe themselves, lest they be labeled “DOUCHEBAG”.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a good show but the results are somewhat superficial. I guess the time constraints are to blame.

  • Michelle Cruz

    I think Sara J’s style is very Tim Burton, like his drawings, not necessarily the movies, but certainly the drawings.

    • Other than being macabre, I don’t see it. I saw the Burton exhibit at LACMA and there’s a gentleness, humor and vulnerability to his artwork that wasn’t in Sara’s piece.

      Her piece was aggressive and intentionally off-putting and while deeply personal I don’t know if it was vulnerable.  She’s talented, but she’s far more polemical than Burton is.

      • Amantha Tsaros

        Oh, I didn’t think it was Tim Burton-y at all. But I definitely thought it was very very very much like Henrik Drescher. Too much, actually.

    • laura magner

      Kind of in the same arena with Gus Fink and Emi Boz…

  • Eclectic Mayhem

    Like you guys I hadn’t realised how much I’d enjoyed the show last time round until I was watching it again; thanks for the heads up that it was on, I’d’ve totally missed it otherwise!

    So far I like all of the cast.  I suspect Jazz Minh is going to irritate me at some point but until then I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

    Would you consider opening the lounge on Wednesday evenings?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, yes! Open the Lounge, please. I see nothing wrong with a Lounge 2 days in a row.

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        It does mean TLo have to monitor the boards later than usual so I’d completely understand if they’re not up for it.

        • Anonymous

          You have a good point, there. Well, we can talk quietly amongst ourselves if need be.  🙂

          • Eclectic Mayhem

            Yes, we promise to be good, daddies!  We won’t let in any party crashers and everyone will be on their best behaviour!

  • Anonymous

    Every single one of these artists seems interesting, talented and creative.  Last season I felt like half of the people on the show weren’t at a level that justified their presence.  This year, I have been tremendously impressed.

    Right now, I’m most intrigued by the man from Arkansas (Based on the screen shots of his previous work in the application video) and the Sucklord.  I wanted to see more from Ugo (mainly because I am a Keith Haring maniac), so I was sad to see him go.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, they seem a bit better this year.  That surprised me as they were sort of a young. pretty group by and large.  The show got a fair amount of publicity in the art world, so maybe a better pool of applicants. (Whereas PR’s pool seems to have gone downhill severely in recent years.  Just can’t imagine an Anya making it on the show, let alone being in reach of taking the whole thing in, say, Season 4 or 5.)

  • Anonymous

    I, for one, am very happy to see this show back on the air. China Chow! And Abdi was there! A lot of my artist friends think this is detrimental to “true artists”, but I think if you get the masses thinking about art at all, its a win. I like this crop of people. Sad to see the pretty man go, and the other pretty man, Bayete, will be gone soon if he doesn’t step it up.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t understand that attitude, and who are these True Artists, anyway, when they’re at home?  tinyredlocks, I’m not chowing down on you–I know a couple of artists who have the same attitude.  And, dare I say it? Some of the work of the WoA artists is much better than some of the work of the True Artists I know. It’s true that the contestants have to jump through specific hoops in making their pieces, but does that make it crap or craft automatically? I don’t think so. 

      • Jordan Adair Stephens

        i’m an artist. most of my friends are artists. my sister is an artist… and we all LOVE this show!!!!! 🙂 but maybe we’re not the true artists either… lol.

        • Like, a question for philosophers: Who ARE the true artists?

          I am an artist, have been all my life. I’m too old and set in my ways to adapt well to those all-too-often provocatively wierd challenges that seem designed just for the sake of being something one wouldn’t consider in executing ones own art. However, for these mostly young people, it’s fun to watch what they do. And some of the work almost anybody would consider “real art.”
          And I confess, I wish I could get my hands) on that Santa Claus piece that nobody chose. Because I know just what I would do to make it my own. (I never thought THAT would happen.)

  • I kind of liked Sucklord’s piece. It sort of gives the finger to all this High Art versus Craft crap. There’s something about it that just makes me laugh. I also didn’t realize how much I like this show until I watched, except for the judges. Just like last time I had this Saltz guy, New York Fucking Times art critic. He’s so high and mighty, “only I recognize true art” that I want to puke when I hear this guy talk. That probably also explains why I like the Sucklord’s stuff.

    • Joe J

      Seriously.  I couldn’t stand Miles by the end of the first season, but I enjoyed finding my view of Jerry Saltz shifting from “Wow, high art critic” to “Emperor?  Your pee-pee is swingin’ in the breeze” as his Miles-loving reached embarrassing levels.

      • Anonymous

        Jerry Saltz is actually the New York Magazine critic.  Last year he blogged about the show there.  I liked his blogs partly because he really did respond to comments.  

        • And his wife, Roberta Smith, is the art critic at the New York Times.

        • Pam Winters

          On the subject of blogs: I remember several good blogs dealing with the last season of WOA; can anyone tell me whether they’ve returned to tackle this season? 

          • Joe J

            Try artfagcity.com – I followed it quite a bit last season and I remember Judith and Peregrine were fairly regular posters there (and I just checked the post covering this season’s artists, and lo and behold Judith is the first poster – kind of cranky, though).  Erik also showed up at one point and let’s just say he didn’t exactly redeem himself after the public art challenge, like, to a ghastly extent.

          • Pam Winters

            Joe–That’s the one I really liked! I was blanking on the name. Thanks.

          • Anonymous

            And here’s Jerry’s, which is kind of amusing in its tortured self-referential way:


            Have to say Bill’s sleek stoner vibe has sort of grown on me.

          • Erik was awful, but Paddy handles the lovers and the haters well.  Her coverage was fantastic.

        • I read his blog on Bravo, and liked it. He didn’t annoy me in particular. I’ve met more pretentious people in my own neighborhood, and I’m a hillbilly!

    • True to alla that. I wish that Sucklord had seriously argued that he morphed his piece from Gandolph the Grey to Gandolph the White – that would have been hilarious. I loved his self portrait, as well as Dusty’s (the guy from Arkansas). As for Saltz, I really didn’t want to see him back after all of the season 1 Abdi-hate. Still, I guess the case of recurring characters works. I completely agree that Sucklord is easy to watch as a TV character. I thought Bayete should have gone home.

      • Anonymous

        Gandalf the grey to Gandalf the White, THAT is fracking BRILLIANT. I would award you a ring of power but sadly I have none to give.

        • Amen to that!

      • ” I wish that Sucklord had seriously argued that he morphed his piece from Gandolph the Grey to Gandolph the White”

        BRILLIANT !!!!   That would have made an incredible “defense” and been darn hilarious to watch.  Great idea!

      • First…Gandalf argument is AWESOME.  Second, I totally agree with you regarding Saltz and the crazy obsession with Miles.  I had to stop watching the show, because as an art history person, I found his increasingly weak argument of support beyond annoying.  Now had he made a LOTR reference, I might have changed my mind.  🙂

    • I like Jerry just fine. As Glammie mentioned above (below?), he was quite open in his blog posts last year, and responsive to both positive and negative comments. He was, as I recall, very respectful to all of his commenters. He does get a little high and mighty, but that’s something I expect from an art critic.

      And it was hilarious watching him go into a rage over The Sucklord’s piece.

  • Anonymous

    The thing to me about Ugo’s work was that derivative as it is of Keith Haring, IT WAS NEVER ANYTHING ELSE! All his pieces from the get-go were like that so the question is why did they even pick him to be on this show? To criticize someone for doing what they’ve always done and apparently have no intention of changing is just willfully bizzarre. It seemed to boil down to his looks and maybe the producers were gunning for some romantic drama like they had last season. However he didn’t seem very interested in playing the Lothario (perhaps he’s never had to) and the women didn’t seem very interested in being coy. So that idea was DOA. 

    • Anonymous

      A lot of the portfolios were derivative of other artists too. Not sure why they kept picking on Ugo. I think Ugo’s weakness wasn’t the similarity of his work to Haring but rather the utter lack of content.

      • Anonymous

        I agree that Ugo’s lack of content is what ultimately got him eliminated. The work was actually quite appealing and “looked” very much like art, but alas, beneath the pretty Keith Haring mimicry there wasn’t much that he had to say. I’m thrilled WOA is back and has a strong group of competitors this season. And count me in as another unborn fawn who would love to see the lounge opened for this show.

    • This was my thought, too. They knew what he was when they cast him. So what was the point, again? It wasn’t any less cliche than Bayete’s piece.

  • Kyle Crawford

    Through my PR haze : I Loved it!, and just like PR the talent level as the show goes on grows. The producers of our other show would have never ever booted someone that pretty that fast.. so BRAVO! ( even thought his painting (?) was NOT the worst – I mean can no one ever ever do any sort of line drawing again ??)

  • Kyle Crawford

    oh, and go to THE SUCKLORDS site, if only for the Piss Bart.

    • Anonymous

      The title alone made me SnOL. or snort out loud!

  • China’s more stylish than Heidi because she’s a stylish woman and Heidi’s a model.  Plus, although she’s tiny, China’s perfectly proportioned to wear Rodarte and not look like a clown.  That’s a lot of detail that could normally swallow up small women, but she just looks glamorous.  It doesn’t hurt that she’s so pretty.

    As for the art, I’m not crying over Ugo’s leaving, but he’s not a hack.  He’s a commercial graphic artist/animator who does the line art as kind of a side gig.  I thought he’d do well because as a graphic artist he’s more adept at working under someone else’s restrictions so when I saw all this Keith Haring stuff I was surprised.  Because that his self-portrait was obviously Keith Haring.

    Still, as dull and derivative as his piece was, it wasn’t a hackneyed piece of crap like Bayete’s.  That was some straight up, laughably bad, junior high collaging.

  • Anonymous

    I’m so glad your blogging about this show, then again, I usually watch anything you recommend. Bayete’s piece looked like a glue gun project gone wrong. I can’t believe he stayed. Michelle’s piece was cool, and every time I look at her I can’t help but think what a great character she’d make on Mad Men. She just has that look! I though Dusty’s clown piece was kind of cool, and was surprised it wasn’t in the top three. Sorry, I didn’t get Lola’s at all.  

  • Anonymous

    A breath of fresh reality competition air compared to all-too worn out Project Runway.  (it’s that time again, again?  As I said last week….)

    I wish there would be a greater age range among the contestants, but I think there are some art chops on display.  And China Chow! brings far more to the proceedings than a certain Deutsche Frau does.  Your assessment of Simon de Pury and Bill What’s-his-name are spot on.  I really had a bit of a “Tim way back when” sense when Simon was on air, and it was gratifying.

    The previews of a lot of bawling artist contestants, though… uncomfortable shades of a certain production company that ruined the grandmommy of creativity reality shows.

    • I have to admit that I laugh hysterically every time I see that body-parts woman’s crying jag. It’s like Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give.”

      • Ha! You’re right. I hope we get a great montage of Kathryn crying while she tries to create.

  • scottyf

    You’ve practically said everything I was thinking about the show in terms of harkening  back to the “Good Ol’ Days” of PR. I also adored The Sucklord, and agree with you about the three on the bottom.

    I have a little bit of a problem with Mr. de Pury as a mentor. It’s the same that I have with Tim Gunn lately on PR. To me, a mentor’s job is to act in two capacities: as an objective eye, and as a subjective one.

    I think the problem with each of the three bottom pieces was lack of a specific point of view/message to communicate. I believe each one would have benefitted from someone asking the question: “Why?” Why do you think Lord of the Rings and Gandalf are important? Why do you think racism is dangerous/important to explore? Without specificity, each piece itself became kitsch. Maybe he did ask these questions during each consultation, and the producers/directors chose not to include it. But to me it is the essence of what makes a piece a work of art: a unique and identifiable message that the creator finds a way to convey visually and emotionally.

  • I really, really, really love this show.  Thank you TLo for reminding me to watch.  (And for the Homeland rec too, btw.)  I found the self-portraits to be quite amazing, and rightfully picked 2 of the bottom boys out based on the portraits alone.  Agree that it is what Runway once was.  And I was skeptical!

    PS- dusty is the one to watch

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t hear about this show until it was over last year, so I’m glad it’s on again.  As a non-artist, I found it fascinating to watch each person’s process.  The format is hilariously identical to PR, but I loved every minute of it.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a lot of talent here, and also a boatload of get the fuck over yourself. It will be interesting to see which triumphs in the end.  I am not as enamored of The Sucklord, mainly because when it comes to art I’m a low- to middle-brow snob.  By which I mean my critique of art tends to be only a notch above “A child could to that, it doesn’t look like anything and it won’t match the sofa.”

    • Pam Winters

      About the only thing I missed on this episode was more of an explanation for the audience about the difference between kitsch and art. Maybe they could have been more obvious in pointing out how the artists “art-i-fied” their pieces. I suspect that it’s a hard thing to explain; a lot of artists probably just go on instinct (I know that I do, as a poet).

      • Anonymous

        Yes, in general I want judges to explain their terms of reference & rationale. On this show & the other create-something ‘reality’ shows.  It’s a big part of the draw for me, when it’s present.

  • Melissa Hoopes

    I think you are being kind to Bayete – his piece looked like something from a of 6th grade Intro to Collage class.  Maybe 5th grade.  I would have voted him off the island. Most of the work was pretty interesting and/or disturbing.  Gory blood girl?  Yuck-she’s going to be a piece of work – you can just tell.

    • Anonymous

      Primarily due to that preview clip of her unfortunate-looking crying jag…

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, how weird was that? I’ve learned not to trust the coming attractions clip though and was hoping it was in response to some sort of performance art assignment? I guess we shall see!

  • Anonymous

    I did enjoy this episode, if for no other reason than some of the art was actually *good* and worth looking at beyond the confines of a cable reality show.  I so miss that from PR these days.  

    But man!  Dangerous exposure levels of pretentiousness!  Is there some sort of rule that ’00s artists must give themselves a single-word, k3wl-spelled name?  (“Hi, my name is Teresa Johnson, but call me LuV*dawg.  I recently got a parking ticket while nude sunbathing, so now all my work concerns the intersection of authority figures and sexual identity.  Oh, and I only communicate through interpretive dance on Tuesday afternoons.”)

    Still, there’s recognizable professional effort and that makes it worth watching.  Simon is certainly the most credible attempt at a Bravo-era Tim Gunn ripoff we’ve yet seen.  And for once I actually agreed with most of the judging.  Truth be told, I’m sort of bummed that Lifetime is carpetbombing with new PR shows just as this season ends.  I could use a break.  But this could be a good antidote.

    • Now I am The Bee

      And you know those artists with their cool names got the idea from SaNDeE* from LA Story… (or is it SaNDEe*?  I forget…) 

      • I’d bet that, on a rough day, even SaNDeE*/SaNDEe* couldn’t keep it straight.

        I try to not be judgmental about how people’s names are spelled. For the past 25 years or so, parents have gone off the rails with what they name their kids and how those names are spelled. But I have to say, I was sorely tested when I read “Jazz-mihn”. Considering her parents were hippies, there’s a damn good chance that spelling is their fault.

  • Anonymous

    Firstly, Mary Ellen Mark! For no other reason than her appearance here, I would have stayed tuned. This is bringing the credibility, fellow kittens. I hope setting the bar this high continues.

  • love love love this show. reminds me of what i fell in love with about project runway- it was always about the art and creativity with me, as not much of a fashion person back then- and what pr has lost with the move to lifetime. you go, work of art! we’re going to watch the reruns at 11 pm every week. 

  • MilaXX

    I wasn’t that gung-ho about the return of this season, but found myself liking it enough to watch the repeat. Sucklord wasn’t as sucky as I thought he would be. I half hope, half expect he’ll bust out with something brilliant at some point this season. Ugo brought nothing to the party but a bunch of pretty and sadly that wasn’t enough to keep him.  I am sad to say that so far I am not feeling Bayate. His self portrait entry piece was cringe inducing it was so bad. His piece was just bad. As in high school art student bad which saddened me because I’d love an intelligent piece about race and this wasn’t even close. That’s not gonna make people thing, it will barely get an eye roll.
    Some of the women kinda  blurred into one for me, Michelle & Lola’s pieces were my favs. Sara’s work (so far) remind me of the unborn fawn artist from last season. (can’t recall her name). I also liked Kymia more than I thought I would. She’s also a bit of a dark horse in my book. Not sure about the cryer, but I love the commercial with her bawling for whatever reason.

    As for judges, Jerry works my nerves, but at least he has something to say. Bill just seems to go for sound bites. Simon is lovingly wacky and China may be fierce, but she also backs it up with her comments.

    • Anonymous

      I have to say I was off-put by Jerry’s snide comment, “What are YOU going to tell me about race that I don’t already know?” and it made my hackles rise to see a white man asking that of a man of color, but I had to calm myself down and realize he meant it in the sense of what is this PIECE going to tell me about race that I don’t already know. And that’s the thing, the piece didn’t accomplish that. But it still rubbed me the wrong way. (Also, aside from being a vegetarian, you and I are like interests twins!)

      • MilaXX

        I’m not a fan of Jerry but I understood where he was coming from. What Bayate was saying with that piece of art was very basic. So what is there that makes this piece worth looking at and revisiting the discussion? I could care less that Jerry is white and Bayate is black. In fact to me, that made it even more important that Bayate present the conversation in a way that would make a white man from NYC who may think he is fairly well aware of the issue of race, want to revisit or expand the discussion. As you mention, tell me something I don’t know.

        • Anonymous

          “In fact to me, that made it even more important that Bayate present the
          conversation in a way that would make a white man from NYC who may think
          he is fairly well aware of the issue of race, want to revisit or expand
          the discussion.”

          Excellent point.

          • Anonymous

            I concur, excellent point!!

        • Anonymous

          I felt like the piece was saying “something about race.” I kept wondering “But what ABOUT race?” and the thing just came back with “I don’t know. Something about race.” It was like the simple fact that his topic was race was supposed to make us go “Ooooo, how edgy.” But because his message was basically a library catalog subject heading, it ended up being down right bland.

      • Anonymous

        We were a little uncomfortable with a bunch of non-African-Americans taking issue with that too.  I think if there had been an African-American artist on the panel and they had said, ‘yeah, I get it, it still sucks,’ then that eliminates that teeny question of whether or not the criticism the piece received was solely aesthetic.  (For the record, I think it was purely aesthetic, but I can see Bayete this morning claiming that the judges just didn’t like being confronted with their own racism, when the fact is, he made a shitty piece of art, full stop.)

        • Lori

          I think it would be hard for Bayete to make that argument in light of Abdi’s provocative, sometimes breathtaking work, and his well-deserved win.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t know that Bayete (or anyone else) is making that argument as much as the situation made me (as a woman of color) very uncomfortable. It was eerily reminiscent of some bone-wearingly stupid conversations I’ve had with some otherwise bright, liberal, “enlightened” men telling ME about my experiences in the world. His art failed, for sure, it was amateurish at best, but Saltz’s tone got *my* hackles up because of past experiences. Again, not accusing Saltz of anything or defending Bayete’s work, just saying it was an uncomfortable situation to watch. Which, come to think of it, is probably why I like the show. 

      • Anonymous

        It was an uncomfortable moment for me, because I know that as a black man, Bayate could teach every white person a great deal about race, simply because he’s experienced racism, and no amount of education about race can replace that.    But his artwork didn’t really convey any of that personal experience; I think if he had incorporated a black man into the work in some way, and personalized it more, it would have been much more successful. 

        • Anonymous

          It needed to be a lot more personal for sure and more deeply felt. The description about the piece seeming like a collection of buzzwords seemed apt to me. I think it could have worked better if instead of a black “mask-like” female face he had done a more recognizably African American face. It would have looked better at least. The way it was done it reminded me of those masquerade and pierrot doll artworks that were so popular in the room of 5th grade girls in the 1980’s*. 

          (*Source: personal experience)

          • Anonymous

            Pierrot dolls!  I never knew the name, but I had one of those masks.  Probably closer to early nineties in my case.  My grandmother brought it back from a trip to New Orleans and it was decorated with turquoise and glitter.   

            A more human black face would have helped.  Or a more deliberately stylized mask might have said something interesting about the history blackface and the minstrel performance.  But I suppose that would have gone in a different direction from the Scarlet O’Hara theme. 

    • Anonymous

      Peregrine was the artist that gave us unborn fawns.

      • MilaXX

        Thxs! that’s who it is. Sara’s work (so far) reminds me of Peregrine. That same water color child like cartoon look.

  • I loved the show and unlike the last few seasons of PR I did not use the fast forward button once.
    I was happy to see that the opinion of Mary Ellen Mark carried some weight with the other judges and allowed The Sucklord (how cna I not love a dude who loves the awesomeness of a velvet Gandalf “you shall not pass!!!” painting?) to hang on.

  • Anonymous

    So China was in a Rodarte.  That does kind of say it all, doesn’t it?  Heidi’s never even gotten close to wearing something that weird and cutting edge.  (Love Rodarte, always have, though I don’t know that I can say why.)

    Don’t really have an opinion on any of the contestants except that I wish Ugo were better cuz he was so pretty.  

    But refreshing was the word that came to mind.  The artists all tend to be “characters”, but the focus still ends up on the creative process.

    Damn, Project Runway’s going to look depressing in contrast.    WA just has a certain joie de vivre to it, though I miss the other woman judge and HER cool wardrobe.  Mary Ellen Marks rocks though in all her self-possessed oddness.  

    • She’s actually wearing a Dion Lee dress, Glammie (see link in the post). At first we thought it was Rodarte : )

      • Anonymous

        Ah, some day though, it will be Rodarte, right?  (Hands clasped in hopeful attitude.)  Thanks.

        • She wore Rodarte last season and is a big fan so she will likely wear them again this season.

  • I watched it this morning with my 11-year old. She hated every single piece of art this week; her indignation was pretty funny.

    Sucklord doesn’t amuse me at all. I’ve met far cooler geeks without the whiff of hubris. Still, I thought Bayete’s art was far worse than Sucklord or “Buy a little freedom; buy a Ugo”s piece.

  • Anonymous

    I have been awaiting this season’s debut for months, and GOD, I am glad this show is back!  I have to admit, I was worried.  It’s the BM Curse: I worried that the Magical Elves might have decided that the BM way was the way to go–grab that “Jersey Shore” demographic, collect your checks, and the hell with the show.  But they–and Sarah Jessica, all props to her–have clearly held their ground, and just as TLo said, that means we get to watch an hour a week of what PR used to be and will never be again.

    It was so interesting to observe how different artists responded to their piece of kitsch and to see what resulted from the challenge.  A cat cut into slices.  A light-up frog.  A somewhat disturbing but ultimately engrossing photograph of a bloodied original. And the winners–I was really intrigued by all three pieces and thought Michelle’s was so beautiful and fully realized. This is just what I want in a reality challenge show: to be able to watch the process of people with talents that I admire but lack doing their work.

    I just loved it!  And Simon…he is a total delight, isn’t he?  And imagine getting the amazing Mary Ellen Mark to judge!

    I hope that Lola’s somewhat self-indulgent “Why did I choose this? What am I going to do with it? I have no idea. I’m stumped. I can’t do anything” attitude isn’t going to continue every week.  Especially since it’s now clear that she has a lot of talent and a very interesting vision. I disliked The Sucklord less than I imagined I would, but I chalk that up to BM cynicism: I figured anyone named Sucklord would be as unpleasant and delusional as Clinique Counter only geekier.

  • It’s not that the Sucklord isn’t pretentious.  He’s just pretentiously different in his pretentiousness.

    • Now I am The Bee

      This made me laugh as it is so true. 

  • Anonymous

    Was happy to see that Bravo brought this show back with its original host, mentor and judges. I think the cast looks great. Too bad the eye candy was kicked off last night.  Oh…and can we get a Judging the host and executive producer (SJP) post too??

  • jeneria

    I love Sucklord.  From the ridiculous name to the nerdy art to his self-awareness, he’s so much fun.  He’s like the anti Miles.

    • Anonymous

      Ah, Miles, the cute hipster with ADD…how we miss him…

  • Anonymous

    In other words, it’s what Project Runway used to be before the producers
    decided we all wanted to watch people fight all the time.

    Oh, all right TLo, you said the magic words. I guess I’m going to have to start watching this.

  • Pennymac

    I originally had no plans to watch this show last year, but your recaps intriqued me. I ended up thouroghly enjoying it, and loving Abdi’s win. It looks like this season has a cast of really talented people, who, by the way, are also interesting. The way PR casting used to be. Talent first, interesting secondary. Loved the challenge, too. It’s also worth watching just to hear Simon say “Sucklord”

  • Part of me hopes Sucklord stays just because I find it amusing to hear China and Simon say his name (especially when they’re obviously trying to be very serious about it).

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed the show so much that it was over before I knew it. I was delighted that three women took the top spots, even though I know, that’s a sexist thing to say. I too thought that the original work had to be present somehow in the final piece, as in an actual part of it. Shrug. Explains why I was confused with Sara’s concept. Michelle created a beautiful work of art. She showed she could elevate craft into art, and I’ll really keep an eye on her. More artists today work in paper than ever before, at least I see a lot of it, and work in it myself, so there can be a very high level of creativity in something once given short shrift. All three women created thoughtful, provocative art.

  • I was so excited to see this show is back! The Sucklord is ringing a faint memory-bell: where have I heard of him before? I didn’t think Ugo needed to go, because that collage-with-merkin mess Bayeté brought made me want to barfeté then say bye-eté. This show is like the real-life version of Delusional Downtown Divas (Google for a laugh).

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the tip on DDD!  Thanks for your Bayete sentence, which is hilarious and made me laugh out loud!

  • What a great recap, thanks!  I liked the show much more than last season.

  • Anonymous


    Don’t you mean CHINA CHOW! ?

  • This season’s cast is infinitely more talented than last season’s in my humble opinion.  The work seems more thought provoking and meaningful.  Suck…whatever’s playdoh Gandalf toy was so literal it made me laugh, but maybe that was his intention.

  • Anonymous

    So happy to read up on TLo’s recaps for this show! I’m so excited for this season (especially since PR is at its absolute worst). And I will ask, did anyone else read Jerry’s criticism of the show last season? He’d blog about every episode (if memory suffices) and to be honest, his blog made me like him more. He poked fun at how they filmed the show, sharing how they were directed to stare at one another with judgmental looks on their faces for fifteen minutes at a time–even when there was nothing left to say–just so they could have the perfect shot of the judges giving the contestants the dirtiest looks. Awesome.

    I admit I’m rooting for the Sucklord. Yes, it’s obvious that he’s a character playing for the cameras somewhat, but being that he’s so obvious about it makes it kind of amusing. He’s not being sneaky about it. And I thought he seemed rather sociable while meeting the other artists, which I wasn’t expecting (although in the season preview he claims to be the show’s villain, which made me roll my eyes). I don’t like his art at all, but I don’t have a problem with having at least one absolute camera whore thrown in the cast.

    I can’t wait to see more of the elementary school teacher’s stuff. I loved the crayon self-portrait. It might not seem entirely original, but I really liked it.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, how can I not watch a show that added “precious unborn fawn” to my vocabulary?  Thought Michelle’s was by far the best–well conceptualized and executed.  While Ugo’s may have been too derivative to stay, Sucklord’s was something you could find at a Salvation Army store, covered with dust ’cause nobody wants it.   He may have great potential down the road, but no doubt he’s being kept on as the Clinique Counter equivalent for this show.  Love the blood & guts girl (don’t recall her name)–looking forward to seeing what she produces.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, he is like the anti-Miles!

  • Anonymous

    was sad to see the gorgeous guy go, although sucklord’s was by far the worst, it does seem that’s all that ugo could do.
    the girls are all merged in my mind as obsessed with their various damaged pasts.
    I like the art teacher, hope he sticks around for awhile.

  • Scott Hester-Johnson

    Meanwhile, over on A-List Dallas, blah blah blah, screaming queens (with accents!), Republican Gays for Jesus and possibly the most delusional involvement with bad hair ever!

    • Anonymous

      You sir, are the devil.  Get thee behind me, Satan.

      I will not watch that show, even though I desperately want to mock Dallas’ Republican Gays for Jesus.

      • Scott Hester-Johnson

        It took me three days to gin up the courage to watch it, but once I started, I could not stop.

        I have a deep, abiding hatred of all things Texas (douche-bag, gold-digging ex issues, my problem, not yours), and this only served to reinforce my feelings.

        There is something transfixing about watching a church-going, bible-thumping “fundraiser for conservative republicans” who worships George W Bush trying to get into a cowboy’s pants.

        You know you’re going to crack and watch it, fromerlyAnon. Just get it over with. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I was just thinking earlier this week that I need to look up when this show came back. Now I know what I’m doing on Wednesday nights.

  • Scott Hester-Johnson

    Back on topic, the missing ingredient that makes all the difference between this and the once great PR is Bravo (Watch What Happens!) and, props where due, Mr Andrew Cohen.

    Ever since migrating to Lifetime, PR has been circling the drain. Berate them all you want as venal and opportunistic, but those bitches at Bravo (Watch What Happens!) know how to deliver the goods.

    Now, back to A-List Dallas.

  • Anonymous

    “Tlo said: There’s a criticism – one that we’ve made in the past and one that we won’t deny is still evident – that the show is more “crafty” than “arty,” but that’s a conceit you’re going to have to accept if you want to watch. Project Runway is no more about the real world of fashion than this show is about art.”

    Exactamundo. But then again, when Jerry remarked that Ugo’s pieces looked like wall decor, I wanted there to be a counterpoint to his arrogance, because the truth is, very often, the only difference between ‘wall decor’ and the rarified contemporary art that Jerry fancies himself an expert on, is the bullshitty narrative the artist uses to sell it to the naked Emperors.

    As for Sucklord– for all his pretense, he ended up making what looks like a candle from Spencer’s Gifts.


    • naked Emperor – absolutely. I wish the guy had enough self-awareness that after all his critiquing and deriding, what he thinks is still just an opinion like everyone else’s.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think you can BE an art critic if you believe yours is only one man’s (or woman’s) opinion.  Your delivery  might be thoughtful & explanatory or dismissive and arrogant, but in the end there’s a certain confidence in your own judgement that’s necessary in order to pull it off.

    • Anonymous

      The vocabulary of the art world always makes me laugh! I found/find Jerry’s blatherings a bit off-putting my ownself. Reading his blog entry on Bravo made me laugh and realize that those ‘crits’ go on forever and we only see what the editors want us to – still, I brace myself for an avalanche of art-speak every time the camera goes to him.

    • Anonymous

      The generic putdown of *wall decor* is tiresome, and arrogant, as you said. What do we suppose is hanging on Jerry’s walls? Naked walls are just that, naked. An unfinished room. Not everyone can afford, or wants to spend their discretionary income, on original art. I am a strong believer in thinking there is art for everyone’s taste out there for the picking. Critics can play a valuable role for those folks who are interested in some background before they make choices, but just as in film, art critics range from the truly educated and thoughtful to those who just want to get their soundbites and catch phrases out there.

      As for *bullshitty narratives* artists may use, sometimes I actually do enjoy reading what an artist has to say about what inspires them, and other times, it is pure nonsense, rehashed expressions they have read elsewhere, and mishmashed into what they assume is an original narrative.

      So I think I’m agreeing with you 🙂

      • Now I am The Bee

        Yeah–GT.  Me. too. 

    • Anonymous

      Well said, GothamTomato, especially the “bullshitty narrative” observation.  Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Ohh, this is going to be fun.  A show that is analysis-worthy of the incisive TLo commentary, the opinionated and well-informed commentariat, TV reality bitches that may actually be fun to watch again. Bravo! Magical Elves!

  • Joyce VG

    I missed the show too!  And I really really like this show. When cute French delusional guy got sent away I was sad for TLo.  My, he sure was nice in all kinds of ways.  I was also very impressed with most of the art and the artists.  It’s going to be fun watching this season.

  • Anonymous

    I loved it!  And I has a sad too that the cute Frenchie is gone but Christ on a cracker, that painting was both hideous and a total rip off.  And it had NOTHING to do with the original.

    And I so totally covet China’s purple dress…

    The chick who studied the history of anatomical dissection is bizarre and will have a breakdown at some point during this season.  Mark my words.

  • Anonymous

    Girl with the guts obsession is annoying and I’m excited to see her cry.

    • Anonymous

      I’m kind of into her. I know it’s about shock value, but it’s also genuinely fearless, too. I guess we’ll see.

  • Jessica O’Connell

    I didn’t watch (though now I’m kind of interested). Just wanted to say, I definitely thought that Sucklord was just another nickname you made up, like “Precious Moments” from PR… apparently not. Please tell me his parents didn’t name him that?

  • Anonymous

    I wish you guys were sitting with me to watch the show because I love your take on WOA, but not the show itself.  I found the Sucklord to be the biggest wave in a sea of pretension, and a lot of blather about a lot of average art.  Maybe my taste is too pedestrian for this show.

    And I thought China’s dress was over-designed.  My eye kept scanning that bodice, searching for a place to land.  I’m not sure that’s a good idea for the host of the show because I never looked at her face, just that bodice.  

  • Man I was waiting to see how many of the ladies Ugo was going to sleep with before he/they got kicked off. I guess it’s like getting to the inside of a tootsie pop…the world may never know.

  • Anonymous

    I love this show. I volunteer for a non-profit working to raise funds to get arts education back into the schools in our area. Any focus put on art is a GREAT thing. I love the process of creating and I’m thrilled that this show seems to get that. I’m sure there will be drama, as there is apt to be when putting lots of strangers together in close quarters with little sleep, but it doesn’t seem like they’re trying to manufacture it. There are some really talented, interesting peeps this season and I can’t wait for next week!

  • Lori

    Love this show.  I was going to say stuff about Sucklord . Then I went to his web site, and now I want to be Mrs. Sucklord.

    • Anonymous

      I was so ready to hate him, too, but he’s got a certain charm and (innocence?) that is pretty appealing. Maybe it was that he admitted his art was pretty crappy instead of spouting art-ese nonsense about it.

  • Anonymous

    Love the show. Happen to disagree with almost all of TLo’s assessments here on it, though, with the exception of the takes on Michelle and Bayete. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    i really loved the show last night.  i too forgot how much i enjoyed it last year.  i found it the self portraits really interesting.  i am in for the duration.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoy this show very much.  Yes, it’s very much like the early seasons of PR.  I hope it doesn’t lose its edge.

    Frankly, I’d have sent The Sucklord home, and it has nothing to do with his over-the-top pretentiousness (which, I begin to feel, may spring from the knowledge that he’s not as good as he’d like to think he is).   Ugo at least attempted to do something transformative.  But The himself admitted that all he did was to make a piece of kitsch even kitschier.  

    And on the subject of pretentiousness, I must say that it’s only to be expected.  Young people and artists are often pretentious.  So with young artists you get a double dose.

    I liked China Chow’s purple dress in the abstract, but when I saw her in side view, I thought she was pregnant.

    I’m glad they have actual artists as guest judges.  However, I hope “it spoke to me” will not become the show’s equivalent of “I’d wear that dress”. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, TLo, to constantly make me know new, fabulous shows !
    Love this one !

  • tom

    I’m scared now; this might be a show that requires attention and at least minimum intelligence.  It definitely will require more knowledge than how many Hello Kitty items are currently available.  After Project Runaway I hope that I’m up to the challenge of having some discerning judgement left, I fear what little I had may have been lost. 

  • Judy_J

    I found myself enjoying the show, and I’m looking forward to next week.  I was sorry to see Ugo sent home so early…he was very easy on the eyes.  I noticed in the previews of upcoming shows that we have another artist who likes to get naked…is this a requirement for the show?  Be that as it may, I have set the DVR and will be watching.  I’ve totally lost interest in Project Runway now that Bert has been eliminated, so I need a new diversion.

  • Now I am The Bee

    I enjoyed the premier last night.  I agree with the winner, although I really liked the moving mountain better. (I’m sorry–it’s gonna take a few weeks to learn artists’ names and work.)  The winner’s self-portrait, however, was stunning.  Not only the paper manipulation technique, but the crazy-ass face coming out of the back of that perfectly scuplted head. 
    I was not sad to see Ugo go–but it should have been Beyete.  That was one bad collage. 

    And surprizingly, The Sucklord didn’t suck as much as I thought he would.  He is just really lucky that Mary Ellen Mark likes toys. But–it’s early. Do you think he’ll ever just ask Simon to call him Morgan? Or will Simon ask to just call him Morgan?

  • Anonymous

    We both blurted out “KEITH HARING” the second we saw this. Either he’s stubborn or he’s delusional because everybody who had anything to say about his work said the same thing and he didn’t seem to think it was an issue at all.

    Everything they showed from Ugo’s portfolio had the same Keith Haring look to it. They apparently thought it was non-derivative enough to invite him onto the show. So what did they think he was going to do differently under the pressure of the competition? They just decided they needed a pretty one?

    As for sucky Sucklord, I have very little hope for him. He’s clearly an attention whore, albeit not as nasty as some, and I suspect his art is going to be very one-note.

  • Anonymous

    I found it interesting that Mary Ellen Mark liked Sucklord’s piece and wanted to hear more.  Also, is it possible you guys could screen capture Ugo’s “reveal” after his auf? It just looked like shadow to me, but the judges kind of seemed to have guilty faces.

    And the editing, oh, how I miss PR’s Bravo days…

  • Anonymous

    I mean, how can you not be intrigued with a show that has a personality called “Sucklord”?!

    I really missed this show too! I was very impressed with many of the self portraits, especially loving the Arkansas art teacher’s and Michelle’s too. I think art *should* be accessible. Creative expression is good for society, and I think it’s a great thing for a show like this to be on the air, no matter how watered down the artistic process has to be for an hour long television episode.

    Speaking of hour long television episodes, I thought Bravo did a great job of focusing on the actual creation of the pieces. A tough job in the first episode especially when all of the contestants also have to be introduced. See, Lifetime?! A show about the creative process CAN be done in an hour!

    Also, totally looking forward to seeing China’s clothes this season! Girl has great style! 

  • Anonymous

    I find myself not hating T.S. (The Sucklord) yet.  If he produces something more impressive next week I *might* start feeling a small (SMALL) bit of sympathy for him that he worries so much about his ability to command attention that he’s sealing himself into this T.S. role.

    Very sad about Bayete, hope he hits his stride next week. As the veteran of arts programs for teens during the 70’s I can say with absolute authority that that was a high school collage – and in 1973 the message/cliche was a lot fresher.  Not that I think his intended commentary isn’t probably a lot more  nuanced than a teenager’s, but the nuance didn’t come through in the piece. Not for me, anyway. 

    I wish I liked watercolor work better.  It is so hard for me to respond fairly to that medium.

  • Sophie Loubere

    I, too, was surprised.  I think there’s more talent here maybe than there was the last time around, and it will be interesting.  The biggest reservation I have about the show is not the commodification of art (lets face facts, folks, that’s been going on for centuries, and anyone who has looked in a Christie’s catalog has to know how commercialized the art world can be) but about the time limit.  On one hand I think it’s necessary as a reality show constraint, but as an artist myself I cringe at the thought of there being so little time for the creative process.  I’m in school right now, and often (if I try to get some sleep) have about the same amount of time to do assignments so I actually do feel their pain, and work becomes hit or miss in such times. 
    As far as Michelle’s piece, I was quite taken with it.  However, I felt that the entire wall behind the piece should have been sky, and that preferably it would have been flat on the wall instead of creating a three dimensional surface with the canvas.  This would have evoked a much more spare, big sky atmosphere I think.  We’ll see about Sara J, I think in the real art world she could do well if she becomes popular as she has such a specific style.  I liked Lola’s piece, but we’ll see.  Apparently she’s attracted to the Sucklord, so that should embarrassing/interesting to watch.  I hope they keep bringing in women or people of color as guest judges, because there is the danger of Old White Man becoming the POV.

  • Anonymous

    I love this show, all of it, even the bad pieces that were created but especially the good ones.  I really enjoy watching the different creative processes going on and what comes from them.  And yes, the Sucklord totally grew on me.  He’ll be a douchebag at some point, but he’s not the kind of douchebag I expected out of the box.  My biggest disappointment was Bayete, who didn’t seem to have a real creative process at all.  And yes, Ugo is totally stealing from Keith Haring and deserved to see the door.  If you’re gonna steal then you’ve really got to bring it, and he didn’t come close to bringing it.

    This really is what Project Runway started out to be before it got hijacked by idiots.  These people are talented and they’re given all the materials it takes to at least make a decent start on something interesting even if they don’t have enough time to gain mastery over it.  I’m so glad they brought this show back.  I feel like it started out from a stronger place this season than it did the last.  I’m really looking forward to the rest of the episodes.  Although I may have to cover my eyes next week when that one girl cries.  She’s so not a pretty crier.  That’s gonna be painful.

  • I think the reason Ugo got the boot, is because the judges had these very strong negative reactions to the other two pieces, while with Ugo’s was more like, “eh, this isn’t that good.” I think from an artistic point of view, hating something can be better than being indifferent about it. Plus, I think that the viewers and judges feel like the other two guys have more potential for different/better stuff in the future. But Ugo sure was good looking, and I’m sad to see him go for that reason alone.

    • Anonymous

      The artworld equivalent of Don’t Bore Nina?

    • Not even one shirtless shot. Seriously, Bravo, who do you think you’re catering to? This isn’t Lifetime! Give us some pectorals and abs!

  • Anonymous

    Love the show.  So very interesting and refreshing after all the Fake Housewives, Gay Listers, and Project Schlockmeisters which have peppered the tube.  I think China Chow is a great host and I absolutely love Simon.  I don’t even mind the pretentiousness because underneath that, I believe that the folks spouting the platitudes are true believers at heart.  So glad this one has returned.  It’s the best show ever on Bravo (admittedly lately, that might not be saying much, but still!). Sarah Jessica Parker is to be commended for bringing some intelligence to Bravo.

    • Anonymous

      It’s the best show ever on Bravo (admittedly lately, that might not be saying much, but still!)

      I can’t agree.  They used to actually show opera, and have jazz programming, and Shakespeare.  And dance!  The Dance Theatre of Harlem’s broadcast performance of Fall River Legend won a cable ACE award. 

      How the mighty have fallen .  .  .

      • Anonymous

        How right you are.  I forgot their noble origins.  A&E still has some of the type of programming they used to but I think even for them it is almost 100% reality these days.

        • I remember the original Bravo!  (sigh).

          For the most part we quit watching A&E when it became the Law and Order channel.

  • Long live the Sucklord!

  • Her work reminds us of children’s book illustrations, only very dark and with a violent, sexual undertone.

    So, then, Sara Jimenez = a less refined Maurice Sendak?

    And anyone with sense screamed out “Keith Haring” in unison the first time they saw his self-portrait.  No way that didn’t happen.

  • Thank goodness there’s one artist in the world daring enough to show us that race plus dollar bills equals prison. Or maybe race plus prison equals money? Well, the point is, it’s controversial and shocking!

    • Anonymous

      The shared hair must have meant something, but I’m not really sure what.

  • To my thinking, Bayete’s was ugly, but at least it had something to say. (Or at least tried.)
    Ugo’s had nothing to say, but was at least aesthetically pleasing.
    Sucklord’s was both ugly and had nothing to say.
    Sucklord should have gone, in my opinion.

  • androidanon

    I disagree TLo (shocker!), this show seems to be selective to one type of “art”, that is art “produced” with the confinements of television, normally the Postmodern variety — which goes to show that it’s more television than what it contents purports and as you guys have said about PR, it’s a game show in the end. Really, anyone seeing major reviews for last season’s winner?  Is he getting shows with galleries in NYC or any major city in the world?  None that I know of.  I mean the secondary title of the show should give you a major hint of how pretentious it is, “The Next Great Artist”, seems to follow the logic of those other shows, “America’s Next Top Model”, the slew of cooking shows, home design shows, etc, etc.  I will say however, Top Chef is the the exception.  

    I believe it becomes an antithesis about the idea of “art” and will, seemingly so as per your review, render so called “art lovers” to this aesthetic, unfortunately.  Art is so much more.  

    I’m sad, actually.  Sad that TLo have fallen to television definitions, or more precisely, the world of television “reality”.  I’m sure I’ll get a lot of flack for criticizing your Excellencies but I feel rather strongly about this topic and it needed to be said.  All that glitters is not gold.

    And, Jerry is a joke.

    • We’re confused. What do you disagree with? Because we noted that this show is no more about art than Project Runway is about fashion.

      • androidanon

        I’m confused myself, not sure what I was responding to … one of those late nights.  Subconsciously, perhaps, I just wanted to be argumentative with TLo.  I don’t know.  Let’s just sweep this under the rug and never speak of this again.  

        Carry on. 

  • BuffaloBarbara

    I see a lot of fan art in the course of my geeky life, and there are a lot of very talented people in that weird little field, so I was hoping to see some fannish wow with Sucklord–you know, good fan art with that extra something that pushes it into fresh art.  But he didn’t seem willing to explore his source material at all.  If LotR is that important to you, don’t you have anything to say about it?  About how it speaks to you?  Very not impressed.

    I’m glad they smacked Bayaté on the first episode–I sometimes feel like a lot of artists are told that if you reference an important issue,  however badly,  your work is as important as the issue.  But of course that’s not true–there’s a point where art merges into propaganda, and that point is where the issue is not examined in the least, just reported on… and in this case, not very skillfully.  The Boston Public Library has a fabulous collection of propaganda posters from WWII, most of which come off as better, on points of artistic technique, than this.  Maybe the quick smackdown will teach the lesson quickly and people will put more thought into their themes.  (In other words, this suffered from exactly the same problem as Sucklord’s piece.)

    I think my favorite is Dusty the elementary school art teacher.  Hope he doesn’t pick up the pretentiousness.

    • Anonymous

      I’m glad they smacked Bayaté, too. The best thing Bill said is that just because the subject is complex, that doesn’t make your art complex. But I appreciate what art educators do, so I hope he just had a bad week.

  • Lattis

    Loved seeing and hearing people calling Sucklord by his chosen name. I have a nephew who went through 5 names before he settled on one name. It was great. You’d say, Hi, Oliver Wendell,” and he’d say very very seriously, “I am Dusty now.” God, I love that kid. 

    You know, Sucklord might turn out to be true to his name and a pain in the arse . . . but, I was prepared to roll my eyes at him and ended up entertained. 

    I love watching these guys work, love to see all the approaches. 

  • really all i wanna do is bang my head on my desk until it bleeds while saying i cant believe mary ellen mark did this.

  • I didn’t mind Ugo’s piece that much as being derivative of Keith Haring, and I thought Bayete’s piece was much worse, but whatever. Sara J’s piece to me wasn’t all that original – her drawing style is of a piece with a lot of art school people who draw with ink and watercolor wash. But eh, I can’t really work myself up over it.  

  • Joshua

    Sorry I’m late, but I just barely watched it. I missed it quite a lot myself and was impressed with some of the showing (and equally unimpressed with some). I agree more or less with what you guys said, but I only want to comment about The Sucklord. I was fully expecting him to turn out to be some sort of drama vortex, but you know, I was actually oddly attracted to him. He’s all nerdy and ironic and not quite the idiot sucklord I expected him to be. I hope he doesn’t suck out next episode because I think he’s got some potential. As for Ugo, cute or not, you can only do so much for someone who can’t listen to person after person telling him the same thing, and from what it sounds, this was happening long before WOA, so the writing was literally on the wall.

  • John Manson

    The Sucklord is THE MOST pretentious of the bunch. Especially when he explains his name at the beginning. Seriously now. 

    • Anonymous

      Yes, but I kind of like him anyway. He seems so steeped in irony, yet maybe he really is just tasteless, or taste-free might be the right term. In the range of human expression, the tasteless can tell you as much about humanity as the truly artistic. 

  • Anonymous

    I am so thrilled you guys loved it too.  I was very sad to see Ugo go.  Are we really saying no one can do curved stick drawings without it being a Keith Haring rip-off?  I went back and looked at a ton of Keith’s work and Ugo’s work was reminiscence of the style but certainly not a copycat.  Sort of like saying only Georgia Keefe can paint watercolor flowers.  Anyhoo, I think Bayete should have gone home.  That was some serious bullshit he produced both physically and verbally.  How many times was he going to say “race”.  I could not help but feel as if he was the token and not a good one.  There are incredible black artists out there with far more to say than this dude.  Memo to SJP, FIND them please.   

    I have to depart with TLO on one aspect.  The fact that the show contained had a segment on roommates in which the gay guy talks about the novelty of rooming with a straight guy and the straight guy talks about the novelty of rooming with a gay guy made me want to puke. Smells like the seeds of some serious manufactured future drama.  Hopefully it won’t overtake the show but it’s coming alright.  

    • Anonymous

      I wasn’t too offended by that.  The straight guy said he’d never roomed with a gay guy before, but had gay friends.  I think it would be natural for someone to be a bit hesitant in that situation.  On Season 1, there was some drama between the artists due to personality conflicts but there was a minimum of the “manufactured” he said  -she said stuff, in my opinion, than on other shows.  I think the show does well to keep its emphasis on the art and a little less so on the personalities.  I’m excited about the new season.

      • Anonymous

        I think he said, “I’ve never roomed with a gay guy before, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”  So I thought, obviously, what was going to happen was that he was going to sleep with the guy.

        • Anonymous

          I hope you are both right!

  • androidanon

    I’m confused myself, not sure what I was responding to … one of those late nights.  Subconsciously, perhaps, I just wanted to be argumentative with TLo.  I don’t know.  Let’s just sweep this under the rug and never speak of this again.  

    Carry on. 

  • Anonymous

    fun times! Cute folks, annoying folks, untalented folks. The paper artist looks great, but I wonder what else she can do? I’m really into this show…

  • Anonymous

    1) If Mary Ellen Mark responds positively to your piece, you are not going home. No f-ing way. 
    2) How do you cast someone whose work looks like Keith Haring’s and then have the judges respond that it looks like Keith Haring? Not really fair.
    3) Yeah, they do have to get crafty (and it generally looks pretty lousy at that) because they have not time at all. Can’t really produce well-thought-out work when you’ve got no time to think. Making a pretty dress in a day is one thing (and still not easy), but making a meaningful work of art means you’ve got to put the time in. But I still like the show. 

  • I’m not gonna lie; this show harks back to what Bravo used to be like before all the bitchery and snarkiness of the the real millionaire matchmaking real estate eligible new jersey housewives

  • Bayete’s work was just ICKY, in a cringe way. Not a provoking eyesore, just a plain eyesore. I KNOW, “art” doesn’t have to be pretty, but when it’s an ugly mess, I think he should’ve been the first to go. I, too, would’ve liked to have seen & heard at least one more week of Ugo, and the possibility of on-screen flirtations. So I guess the show didn’t completely play to the audience.

  • You know, if Jazz-mihn hates her childhood so much, why not rebel by spelling her name in a normal way? Or just rechristening herself Jane?

  • We do?

  • My favorite moment? The look on Jerry Saltz’s face when Mary Ellen Mark disagreed with him. He seemed stunned, angry, and flummoxed all at once.

  • vmcdanie

    Ahhh, I am so excited for this show to be back. I lost my shit when they introduced Mary Ellen Mark as a judge (meanwhile, PR is a show about fashion that had…Kim Kardashian as a judge.) As you say, this is the only show-that I know of-on regular television that takes the viewer into the artistic process. Love it.

    I really wish they had kept Ugo but I think that was 95% due to his looks, charm and accent. (Goes back and looks at that piece which really does look like Keith Haring.) Ok, make that 100%.

    Michelle’s piece made me cry. One to watch, indeed.

    Like you, I fear I’ll come to regret it but I find myself veering toward Team Sucklord despite myself.