WOA: Good Times

Posted on November 10, 2011

So Simon wakes up our little group of ragtag sensitive souls with an entirely too exuberant “WAKEY WAKEY!” at 5 am.We love that man, but even he would be assaulted for doing that to us. This is why we’re not ever trying out for a reality competition.

Also because bitchy bloggers will then make mean screencaps of us. We know the score, bitches.
Anyway, it’s off to the New York Times, for a pretty decently conceived challenge: pick a headline, devise a piece inspired by it. Simple, direct challenges like this are always welcome over confusing last-second twists. Do you hear that, producers of some Project Runway other reality show we won’t name at this Project Runway time Project Runway?

They’re also really good at getting very smart and experienced judges who are, if not connected to the challenge, usually uniquely qualified to speak on it. He was excellent and gave challenging critiques without being a dick about it.

So congratulations to Young. Personally, we didn’t get it. Or to put it more accurately, we felt like we got it, but we didn’t think it was as strong a piece as the judges claimed. Visually quite powerful, but we don’t think his message was any clearer than The Sucklord’s who got raked over the coals and almost sent home for not really having much of a message either. We like Young’s work, but we’re starting to think of him as the judges’ pet this season. We think he’s getting just a little over-praised.

We never would have guessed while he was talking about this that Dusty would have wound up in the Top 3. We even railed against it a bit when it was announced. But once the judges started talking about and the camera lingered on it a while, it really grew on us. It’s perhaps a bit on the literal side and the silhouettes could have been a bit more interesting in shape, but there’s a quiet power to the piece.

We also didn’t think Lola would make it into the Top 3 because she’s as big a bullshitter as The Sucklord and has the same tendency to be rather light on concept.  But we have to admit, the girl really pulled something together. The newspaper-wrapped tools seemed kind of pointless, but her illustration style was engaging and drew you in.

And now for the bad art:

The entire time she was talking about her piece, we kept thinking, “Looks interesting, but we don’t get it.” That was before we knew she was going to flip the paper over and put it on the floor, basically. After that, we were completely lost. We agreed with China that the piece on the upper right was far more interesting and had far more energy to it.



We have to admit, we’re getting really tired of his schtick. Not just the art schtick, but the camera schtick; the obvious attempt to craft his own story each week in order to get camera time. Everything, from the “I’m just going to sit here and read the paper while everyone else runs around” to the “I’m freaking out because these judges, man!” got on our nerves this week. Not that they didn’t get on our nerves in previous weeks, but whatever novelty The Sucklord had as a reality show contestant is getting stale awfully quick.

We haven’t even talked about this piece. That’s because there’s really nothing to say. If he couldn’t figure out what the piece was trying to say, we sure as hell won’t make the attempt.



And it’s goodbye to Bayete, who had a very rocky road on the show, veering wildly from bottom to top and then bottom again with each challenge. It seems to us he was so focused on his anti-religious feelings that he wasn’t paying much attention to making the piece work both technically and aesthetically. It was kind of hilarious that the piece seemed more interesting to the judges when they thought all the technical mistakes were deliberate choices. Had this piece been technically perfect and completed in exactly the manner he envisioned it, he probably would have still been on the bottom, though. There just wasn’t much of an idea behind it.


You guys, we totally forgot to do the middle pieces from last week’s episode, we know. We’d like to say it’s the show’s fault for boring us, but that’s not true. We’re bad bloggers. We promise we’ll get to all the middle pieces from this week’s episode.


[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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  • Anonymous

    Hey guys… where is Boardwalk Empire?  Are you not blogging it anymore?

    • scottyf

      Read the last paragraph of this post. The Soul Brothers explain it there.

      • Joyce VG

        Is reviewing Homeland the same as reviewing Boardwalk Empire? Homeland is getting juicy! 

      • Anonymous

        OK… got it. Thanks.  I don’t watch Walking Dead so I totally didnt see that post.   Sorry to lose Boardwalk Empire though.

        • Yeah, especially since Boardwalk Empire has really picked up steam as the season unfolds.

          • I didn’t read those recaps because we had fallen so far behind (life stuff). We’re nearly caught up and now I can’t review the TLo response. Tonight, we’ll only be two episodes behind.

  • Anonymous

    I’m feeling like the judges are giving Young a pass because they don’t want to seem critical of the issues behind his work although I concede that Bayete is a counter-example to my point.  I guess I just feel like Young is going for something kind of obvious here, and with the Prop 8 piece, and that in both instances the soft “lite” liberal politics worked for the entity that was going to display the work.  And I say that as someone with soft “lite” liberal politics.  I mean, marriage equality and censorship matter to me, but beyond calling attention to those issues, what has he really said about them?

    • scottyf

      I’m with you about Young. His pieces are intellectual and visually interesting on some level, but I never feel the “soul” of the artist. I’m never invested in his work. And for some reason (which I can’t figure out), he creeps me out.

      I wanted Dusty to win so badly. His work might have been a tad literal, but it moved me.

      • Anonymous

        I’m in complete agreement with your post Scottyf.  I am sorry that Sarah’s turned out so poorly. She had an excellent topic and concept that literally fell apart at the seams.

      • Anonymous

        With Dusty’s piece, which I thought was a little heavy-handed and literal, the viewer at least had to do some thinking to get into it.  I can’t behind his winning on artistic grounds, but I do find him sympathetic and more sincere than, say Lola, who I agree (with TLo) seems like she’s always bullshitting.

        • Anonymous

          Ugh, Lola bugs me. She always seems like she thinks she’s more… everything than anyone else. Though, I did laugh at Sara J claiming Lola was overly emotional. Um, Sara, did you SEE last week’s episode?

          • Since I wasn’t around to discuss last week’s episode, which I finally watched this afternoon, I’m taking this opening to complain about Sara J. Good grief! Her behavior actually offended me. She got herself so caught up in her own ancient pain that she let it get in the way of the wonder shown in her kid’s art piece. I know as well as anyone else does that old wounds open up at the strangest times, but this was wholly and ridiculously self-indulgent bullshit. I would have been embarrassed for her if she hadn’t  pissed me off so much.

          • Yeah, I’m finally catching up on this. That Divorse piece was horrible on so many levels. Also, with at least a decade of life, you can’t get past that initial kid’s pain and see a bigger picture? That it’s not just you and your pain, but an entire ecosystem that might have been not working well, was torn apart, and hopefully is functioning again in some altered state?

          • Anonymous

            I think Lola is this seasons Miles. She even did that “over-stimulated” schtick.

      • I’m sorry, but I just love Young … yes, his pieces have been political, and I think to some extent that’s the very reason why you don’t see the artist’s “soul” so much, although I think you did see it on the first challenge where he did the performance art piece.  To his credit, while other artists have dipped again and again back into their particular style of art that they are comfortable with, Young has made more judicious use of his performance art.

        And for me, instead of creeping me out, I think he’s not only as cute as he can be (ok I have a crush), he seems to genuinely be a team player.  I will agree that maybe he’s judged a little less critically since he’s already an established figure in the art world (I think he was a curator of a museum in New Zeland).

        • Pam Winters

          Young reminds me of Viktor on PR in that both have very high-level technical skills. (That said, I can’t figure out why Young thought bleach would remove newsprint. Pink Pearl eraser, maybe?)

      • Anonymous

        Honest question — on what level have you found Young’s pieces intellectually interesting?

        • scottyf

          lol, on a relatively superficial level at best.

          Except for the pop art piece (which, did anyone ever mentioned that he used the EXACT same color palette as the visiting artist Rob Pruitt used in one of his representative pieces?)–which other than it’s visual style had very little to do with pop art as I understand it–I intellectually “get” his point of view. I mean, for the most part I can look at his work and see what he is trying to communicate without him having to tell me in words (unlike Lola with her masturbatory titles). But I feel emotionally detached from the work. I’m just drawn to work that moves me on a more visceral level.

          • Anonymous

            That’s the most perfect description of Lola’s titles.  To me, that reflects not only Lola’s desire to be A Deep and Meaningful Yet Misunderstood Artist, but more clearly, her inability to express her ideas in the art itself.

      • oohsparkley!

        Yeah, I was going to say that I thought Young’s work was over-praised.  It is intellectual and an interesting idea – an artist persecuted for his art is sure to hook the artist judges.  But look at it – it’s a pile of newspapers wrapped in string just like a normal pile of newspapers with a slightly refined headline.  What is original about that?  He painted or covered the papers with black?  I would have given the win to Dusty’s piece.  His silhouettes look so downcast, it really evokes depression.

        • I was really rooting for Dusty to win. I just like the guy, and I liked the piece he did this week. Maybe it was a little heavy-handed, but it really got to me.

          I think Young has talent, but he’s- well, young – and has a way to go to hone his work. This week’s piece was very literal, and, when he scrapped the slightly bleached newsprint, I think he missed an opportunity to make an actual statement about censorship , i.e., something like “you can try to remove his words, but the truth will always come through.” It’s corny and also too literal, but no more so than what he presented. I mean, he won anyway, but, as TLo said, he had as much of a message as The Sucklord did, which is to say, none.

    • MilaXX

      Young’s pieces are just as obvious and literal to me as anyone else’s. I also get the judge’s pet vibe from him and I can’t figure out why. I’m also hating the sick/dead relative narrative he has going. This seems to be the trend in reality tv lately and for me it’s a big turn off.

      Dusty’s piece was my choice for the winner.

      • Anonymous

        Dusty’s looked too much like a newspaper graphic for me, but there was something elegant about it. I completely agree with you about Young. What a huge disappointment.

    • Pam Winters

      Same here. I like Young’s work–I especially liked this piece–but twice now he’s had judges say things like “Prop 8/artistic freedom is an important issue!” with an implied “Therefore, this piece is worthy.”

      I wonder what the judges would do if one of these folks busted out a work whose politics weren’t as likely to align with their own (e.g., an anti-abortion piece–not that I know how the judges feel about reproductive choice, mind you); would they be able to judge the merit of the work apart from their feelings about the issue?

      • Anonymous

        I have also been hearing the implication from the first paragraph. Honestly, it’s pissing me off. It just seems very navel-gaze-y to me when the judges essentially admit that they find censorship and gay marriage more important issues than the financial collapse of a nation or an actual revolution. Like they can only appreciate what makes an issue ‘important’ if it directly affects them and theirs.

        • How does gay marriage actually affect Jerry, China, and Bill (all heterosexuals, 2 of whom are married)?

          Whether you are an artist or not, Ai Weiwei’s story affects all individuals. It is a wake-up call that when your voice is too loud or the government too intrusive, there are serious repercussions to individual liberties. An American example of this was artist/scientist Steve Kurtz who was arrested and a victim of post 9/11 infringement of rights.  

          Unfortunately, viewers miss out on each artist’s 45 min crits with judges. Most of the discussion is NOT about the relevance of our topics we chose, but they are about the objects themselves, and why it is/isn’t successful. I can understand why viewers might think the judges are only praising subject matter in how editing conveys the crits though.

          In conclusion though, I’m glad you’re pissed despite the haterade. It shows that you value the integrity and power of art, whether we artists are successful or not in communicating our ideas via reality tv. Plus, it’s a golden opportunity for us to get brutally honest feedback. 

          • Pam Winters

            I guess I should check the Bravo website to see whether there are “extended crits” there. I’d like to hear more of the discussions.

            Maybe if we’re coming away with the idea that the subject matter is being too heavily weighted in assessing the art, it’s because the editors are presenting those parts of the crits that provide exposition on the subject matter (since, for example, a lot of viewers won’t necessarily have heard of Ai Weiwei). 

    • I thought it was more of a zeitgeist thing.  Ai Weiwei was a major story, especially in the art world, at the time they were shooting.  Dusty’s piece, especially in light of the Occupy movement, was more prescient than relevant at the time.  Plus, I do think there’s a bit of snobbery at work with regard to Dusty’s work.  He’s small town Southern, but his work isn’t and I don’t know if that is registering with the judges. 

  • scottyf

    Of course I SO wanted to root for the brother. But from the beginning, his pieces seemed to have no real point of view. So he got three strikes from me:

    *strike one* His work never moved me. 
    *strike two* His work never challenged me. 
    *steee-rike three* And he never gave me a woody.

    YER OUT!!!!

    • Anonymous

      And he knew it, too!!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah,  I was thinking as the episode was moving along how much I liked Bayete and how little I liked his art.  There just wasn’t a lot there–the time he won was a bit of a fluke–the least bad piece.

      But now that he’s gone, I’m glad he had that win, just because he seemed so damn decent–a bit like Dusty that way.

      • scottyf

        It’s kind of nice to watch a reality show where the worst thing you can say about a contestant is that they are a bit whiny, or play for the camera too much–instead of fearing demonic possession if you lay eyes on them again.

      • Anonymous

        Indeed. He left very graciously, too.

    • Two out of 3 for me (I thought he looked quite nice with his shirt off 😉

  • Anonymous

    I have to say that I gasped when I saw Young’s piece. I haven’t been following the show all that closely, but I found his work to be gripping and very well done. I also liked Lola’s piece — very cool illustrations. Dusty’s piece grew on me, as well. It had kind of a ’70s feel to me, but then again, this decade has that vibe in general.

    •  If Nina were a judge on WOA, she would call Dusty’s piece “editorial”.  I really liked it- thought it said something about the headline and completely used newspaper as the medium.  And to boot, it looked like an illustration from an op-ed piece in the times.

      Bad TLo!  I was combing for the ‘forgotten middle’ all week!

  • I still like this show – which is surprising to me as I think most of the work produced is rather lame.

  • Scott Hester-Johnson

    Both SuckyLord and Dusty’s “pieces” look like the little illustrations the Times uses next to editorials. Bland, graphic and predictable.

    Frankly, I am beginning to think that the only reason little Sucky is still with us is plaintive pleas from Simone to the producers, something along the lines of “I still have tonnes of this sans talent bouffon’s crap in my warehouse and if you boot him now, I’ll never be able to sell his Jar Jar Binks dioramas. Keep him in one more week ’til I can shift it, je vous en prie!”

    And Young’s piece? Way to manipulate the judges. I can just imagine Bill Powers’ thought processes; “It could be ME in a Chinese prison!”.

    Sara should have won.

    • I can just imagine Bill Powers’ thought processes; “It could be ME in a Chinese prison!”

      I keep giggling over this. I see Bill’s furrowed brow and hear the voiceover.

  • Anonymous

    Bad bloggers! Never! I wanted to LOL this morning and I did! Twice!
    “Also because bitchy bloggers will then make mean screencaps of us. We know the score, bitches.” hahahahahaha
    “Do you hear that, producers of some Project Runway other reality show we won’t name at this Project Runway time Project Runway?”

    I’m a bit more sick of Lola than I am of Sucklord. But their “relationship” or whatever it is, is starting to creep me out. Seriously creep.me.out.

  • I think Simon had a cold this week. He seemed a little off when doing the workroom critique.

    Sucklord, you will never be as entertaining as Miles Mendenhall, so I’d abandon the whole “I have a crush on a fellow contestant” routine. Miles and Carol Hannah did it better than you ever will.

  • Caz

    Thanks for this – I fell asleep and missed who got sent home – I thought for sure it was going to be Sucklord.

  • MilaXX

    Bayate was just a big disappointment. Not only was his piece half done, he couldn’t even think up a good tale to BS his way past the judges.
    HATED Lola’s piece and I’m as tired of her Schick as I am Sucklord’s obvious famewhoring.

    • In his defense, I really appreciated how he took it on the chin and agreed that he blew it.  Love a man who is a man and not a whiner……

      • Scott Hester-Johnson

        That’s all part of his schtick.

        • Just like his “laughing” that the little girls he worked with last week drew better than he did.  Adam McEwen nailed it when he said that it felt like Bayete quit as soon as he had a good idea.  That could apply to all his work.  He thinks “I’ll do this…” then half-asses it.

    • Anonymous

      I am dreading next week.  I can’t believe she thinks she’s an artist on par with the marvelously talented Kymia (thanks a lot for putting her in the top 3 twice, judges), so now she’s going to mean girl her.

      • Are you talking about Lola? Yeah, I already want to smack her hard on the back on her head for (possibly) being mean to Kymia next week, and I don’t even know the whole story yet. I like Kymia. And she’s a Durham, NC girl. Since I live in Durham, I have to root for her.

    • Anonymous

      Bayete may have been able to save himself if he would’ve thrown some (any)  BS at the judges. I guess that’s just not who he is. 
      Lola irritates me even more than Sucklord. She tries to be the misunderstood, tortured artist with a dark soul. If you’re an truly gifted, yet tormented, artist you’re not “trying” to be tormented. Give me a break and stop taking yourself so seriously. And go home soon.

  • Anonymous

    I was glad Lola didn’t win because (aside from the fact that she is an annoying, entitled poser)  she traced the photographs, rather than drawing them. As a photographer, I hate it when so-called artists use other people’s photographs as references. The photographer created the art – NOT the person copying it. And too many people think it is OK to do it. But it’s not: It is stealing. And what she made was not art; just art student bullshit.

    As for DumbSuck: If he wanted to make those things look like stacks of money, and there were all these NYTimes sitting around, why did he cut out pieces of wood?? 

    And Dusty’s poodle people: Last week they got on whats-his-name for the ‘grow’ sculpture looking like a PSA…well, this didn’t? It looks like some kind of medial PSA (maybe for an STD).

    In general, too much construction, not enough talent in this group. The girl who did the ORIGINAL watercolor painting was ignored. At least she created something original.–GothamTomato

    • Scott Hester-Johnson

      100% Agreement. Sara should have won for her ARTWORK.

    • Pam Winters

      Thanks, GT. My husband was up in arms over this: “How can she keep saying she DREW them when they were TRACED”?

      Is this sort of thing acceptable in art these days? It’d have gotten me disqualified from the 4th grade strawberry festival poster contest.

      I don’t mean to sound like a philistine; I guess I just don’t know enough about the visual arts to know what is and isn’t considered “original” or “fair use.”

      • Anonymous

        No, it’s not acceptable. I think the most famous, recent case was when Shepard Fairey stole Mannie Garcia’s photograph to make the Obama Hope poster. Fortunately Garcia was an AP photographer and AP sued Fairey (who has been sued before, and who has a history of stealing photographs, though he has hypocritically sued others for stealing ‘his’ work). After denying he used Garcia’s photo for a long time, Fairey finally had to admit he did. And he lost.

        Many photographers don’t have the money to sue. And many more thieves don’t get caught. However there are ramifications for those who do get caught. 

        I remember a case, from one of my favorite art galleries downtown, about 6 or 7 years ago, there was an artist who, to me, was obviously using photographs as reference material. He had great technique with mixed media, and was great with drawing, but I could recognize the photographs, from having seen them before.   The gallery owner FINALLY realized what he was doing and dropped him (and if I recall correctly, there was a lawsuit involved as well – an infringed party is going to sue the deepest pockets). So that artist went from having solo shows at this gallery and selling his pieces for $8-10,000., to being persona non grata – all because he was lazy and dishonest in copying photographs, rather than making his own. No gallery wants to touch someone who got another gallery sued.–GothamTomato

        • Anonymous

          I’m curious. What about people like Michelle who use their own photos are reference? Or people who use photos as a general reference, (When you bend like that, the muscles do this, or the discovery of what horses’ legs actually do when they run), but not as the source of the piece? 

          • Anonymous

            Using your own photographs is perfectly fine.

            Using someone else’s photographs, without their permission, is copyright infringement.


          • Anonymous

            So you don’t believe in fair use? Say I’m trying to draw Lady Godiva on horseback, but I’m not sure about how the leg should bend in that position. If I go Google for a picture of someone on horseback to get the angle right, do you think I’m infringing the photo I look at? Because copyright is not that broad.

          • Anonymous

            What Lola was doing was nowhere near fair use. Fair use is not that broad.

          • Anonymous

            Oh, I agree, but your statement about use of others’ work was very broad, so I was trying to figure out if you were talking about just things like Lola was doing, or any and all use.

        • A political cartoonist very recently lost his job because his editor finally realized that most of the cartoonist’s work was him tracing other cartoons, with no credit or “apologies to”, which, on the rare occasion that a cartoonist uses an image created by another cartoonist, is standard practice in the profession. This guy had been doing it for years, at one paper after another. The only people who didn’t know he was doing it were his editors. Every cartoonist knew damn well what he was up to. It’s absolutely galling.

    • Anonymous

      It would seem ‘painting’ is just too, too twentieth century for our esteemed judges.

    • Anonymous

      I am completely baffled by the love for Lola’s “art” this episode, which to my eyes looked like crap, pure and simple.

      • Anonymous

        It was crap, plain and simple.


      • Anonymous

        Completely agree, I don’t get it, at all.

    • Jacqui

      I’m glad Lola didn’t win as well. I just thought it looked A. traced and B. just not visually interesting. I was not at all impressed. And I thought the weapons were stupid.

  • The Sucklord was so much more interesting when he was just a name.

  • Anonymous

    LOVED Dusty’s, just loved it. Should have been the winner. I can imagine the New York Times reporters watching this last night and rolling their eyes that such a masterful topical headline and breathtaking rendering of it — with the paper, no less — isn’t in their lobby.

    Instead they get Young’s stacks of newspaper painted black. I didn’t get it. First, he tried to BLEACH the newsprint. Then he painted everything black. But with a headline. Guess he had never seen those black bars that go over redacted documents, or over the eyes or private parts of people in photos? But anyway.

    And then Bayete — the guy who started out as a photojournalist creates half-assed golden painted doors for this challenge.

    • BuffaloBarbara

      The NYT is censoring Ai Weiwei? The NYT is complicit in the blackout of all news about Ai Weiwei?

      A sort of ironic notion, given that the article and headline came from it, eh? And since I, as someone who follows neither art nor (particularly) politics have heard of Ai Weiwei at least enough to recognize the name, I have to wonder how much of a “blackout” there is.

      I thought as soon as the bleach didn’t work that he’d be off to pick up his Sharpie and do some old school censoring, if that was the point he wanted to make.  I was shocked when he didn’t.

      The final artifact has to count for something, and this one was a stack of newspapers painted black with a laser-printer headline pasted to it.  It didn’t seem to have much presence, in terms of scale (maybe it was different in person?) and it wasn’t striking in aesthetic sense.  It was just… there.  I went over to their blogs, and not a one of them offered an explanation of why this was a great piece of art–they just said it and apparently assumed I’d agree.  But on the “Rate the Runway”, the piece is running a tenth of a point BEHIND SUCKLORD’s with the audience.  That tells me that, if they’re interested (as Jerry, at least, claims to be) with sharing the rationale behind modern art criticism, they need to seriously address this, because I cannot make sense of it.  There were a lot of pieces I’d have put ahead of this one–I assumed he was in the bottom for it.

  • Anonymous

    Face it, the only reason they haven’t sent Lola and the SuckLord home is because she keeps saying she finds him sexy, and the producers hope this means they’ll do (all on camera). Doggy style has launched a few reality careers (ask Paris & Kim).


    • They can’t hook up in any substantive way.  It’s part of the Bravo contracts. Bravo doesn’t want to be responsible for any of the parting gifts contestants can give to one another.

  • Anonymous

    God bless him but Dusty’s piece looked like a UNICEF float at the Rose Bowl Parade. 

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t seen the episode yet, because we’ve been busy…

    I’d like to share some great news with my fellow kittens:

    I am a grandmother for baby #3! My oldest son and his wife had a very surprising visit from the stork on Tuesday with a 4 pound baby boy, born 2 months early. He’s their first child, and it is a joy to watch them together. The baby is doing quite well, with all the usual support from a fantastic NICU here in Denver. We hope he’ll be home for Christmas, but that remains to be seen.

    Happiness cocktails of your choice for everyone! I’m buying!

    • Anonymous

      Congratulations to you, Grandma!  🙂  Here’s hoping all goes well for the little early bird!

    • Now I am The Bee

      Congrats,  Grammy!  Sending good thoughts that Baby thrives and everyone has a great Christmas. 

    • Ledasmom

      Congratulations! All the best to baby and parents and grandmother.

    • Anonymous

      Hey, congratulations! How exciting! Grandkids are the best.

    • Congratulations, Qitkat. I’m sending good wishes and vibes for Baby. And a little prayer, if that’s OK.

      • Anonymous

        That’s more than OK, accidental housewife. Thanks. I’m doing a little praying myself.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh, Young again? For a work so similarly trite as last week’s win? I’m beginning to think that the way to win this show is to have a single banal, ancient concept and then execute the hell out of it. Because I will say that for Young: his ideas are shallow as hell, but he is committed to executing them cleanly. I would have liked to see Lola get the win for it’s complexity and humor. Art should make you think, but it shouldn’t tell you what to think.

  • Anonymous

    To me, Dusty’s piece was by far the best. None of the others came close. My theory on why Dusty didn’t win is that his concept – the terrible American economy – was not as “cool” as a missing Chinese dissident artist.  That’s all I can think of because you’re right, T Lo.  Young’s piece was quite literal, and not that great.  

    I’m baffled by the love for Lola’s piece.  Maybe it had to be seen up close, but I didn’t think the illustration style was as “massive” as Jerry said it was. As for the losers, they all deserved to go and so did a few others.  The race to the bottom seems to be speeding up.

    When I watch the judging on ‘Top Chef’ and even ‘PR,’ I can tell the judges have a lot more experience and knowledge and expertise than I do just by what they say.  When I listen to the WOA judges, I don’t feel like they know any more than I do at least for the kind of art these contestants produce.  And the guest judge’s claim to fame is writing obituaries of people who aren’t dead?  There must be something more to it than that because the newspapers do the same thing, and have for years.  All those obits are written years in advance.  That’s where rookie reporters used to get their start.  

    • Anonymous

      Of course the plight of the missing artist would resonate the most with the judges. I am sure there were New York Times reporters rolling their eyes over Young’s piece winning over Dusty’s.  

    • Anonymous

      I totally agree with you in regards to Lola’s illustration.  It’s certainly no style I haven’t seen before, so I guess I’m not sure why Jerry seemed to think it was this great new thing.

      • Anonymous

        Lola’s illustration was hard to see, but I really liked it. It was genuinely creative and reimagined the photos. I had no idea what she was talking about when she said she was recontextualizing them or whatever, but there was humor and I saw it as sort of a Willy Wonka-fying of them, if that makes any sense.

        • Anonymous

          Nope, it doesn’t, unless you mean that when you chew them they taste like a complete dinner, with blueberry pie for dessert.

  • Anonymous

    I loved that no one ever corrected Bayete when he kept referring to the show “Sister Act” as  “Sister Act 2: The Musical”.  

  • Anonymous

    I found Young’s piece really obvious and uninspired–trite.  I figure that it won because it was the most Times-Lobby friendly piece–not too big and not gruesome  (hey Kymia) and in Young’s piece the media is IMPORTANT.

    Dusty’s was also kind of obvious, but there was some really beauty and feeling to it.  Of the top, I wish it had won.  Lola’s had an interesting idea, but it didn’t project well  (i.e. in the lobby).

    I figure SuckLord stayed over Bayete because of SuckLord’s entertainment value.  They’ll keep him until it means sacrificing an artist they care about–i.e. Michelle.

    My faves were actually in the middle–Sara J.’s and Michelle’s.  But neither put the idea of the press front-and-center.  Again, I think it’s all about that damned lobby.

    Young pleased his client–in some ways, he’s the most commercially minded of any of them.   I hope he gets dumped because WOA runs the ongoing risk of voting for the shallower, but splashier piece to make art television-friendly.

    • Anonymous

      This is Young’s second time playing right to the commercial client – that’s exactly how he won the pop art Entertainment Weekly challenge too, I’d think.

    • Anonymous

      I liked Sara J’s a lot too, although I’ve already forgotten what it was.

    • BuffaloBarbara

      I’m not sure how striking Young’s piece will look in the lobby of the NYT, though.  Someone might accidentally toss it, figuring someone spilled ink on a pile of papers.

      Dusty’s really had feeling in it.  Was it obvious?  Yes, but no more so than anyone else’s. At least the feeling behind it was genuine… and it would have had more presence in the lobby.

      I think Suck managed to scrape by just because his piece managed to at least reference the headline. 

  • Anonymous

    I liked Michelle and Kymia best this week, with Dusty coming in as a distant third.  Young’s work is pretentious, I don’t find the visual interest in it that the judges do (although with art, it could read different in person than it does on television) but he picks topics that they deem socially relevant like Prop 8 or human right abuses in China and they oooh and aaaah over it.  Also, I don’t think he used the newspaper in his piece (if I’m wrong on this, let me know) so he didn’t even fulfill the challenge.

    I didn’t like Lola’s piece although I’ll admit it’s better than a big ball of garbage – the bar is set low for her.  I’m not sure if I was relieved or disappointed that she needed to use the name of the headline instead of titling her piece “The Rebels Have Crappy Weapons; I Have No Defense Against The Loneliness In My Soul”

    I think Sucklord deserved to go home this week.  When you admit that you’re making a point you don’t even believe in (that The NY Times was complicit in the BP oil spill) and you’re just making it out of desperation to get through the challenge it shows that you’re in way over your head.  If Bayetee had been a better bullshit artist and said something like “The door is upside down, just like the priorities of the church.” he might have just made it through to the next week.  But he didn’t like his piece very much so I don’t think he wanted to defend it.  I’ll give him points for having a little artistic integrity, but I’m sorry to see him go.  Hell, I thought he should stick around another week just for his hilarious response when Dusty said he couldn’t do the figures with fists in the air because he’s white and Bayetee pointed out that white people have fists too!

    • Now I am The Bee

      Yes–I loved that exchange about the fists. 

    • “I’m not sure if I was relieved or disappointed that she needed to use
      the name of the headline instead of titling her piece “The Rebels Have
      Crappy Weapons; I Have No Defense Against The Loneliness In My Soul” “

      OMG, that is hilarious. And spot on.

  • Anonymous

    Man, normally I am totally with you if not on your critiques, at least on the general personalities and feeling we gt from the contestants. But I have got to disagree. I find the Sucklord’s candidness (“I’m gonna say it’s about how the Times is complicit in this, but I don’t believe any of that shit”) really engaging, although I’ve only really liked one piece of his, he just seems like a really decent guy. And I think Young is a total airhead, and the only reason he’s won (twice!) is taht he picked the issue the judges cared about most. Kymia and Lola’s pieces seemed much, much stronger to me.

    • Anonymous

      me too, me three

    • BuffaloBarbara

      Me four.

  • Dusty is robbed, once again.

    • Anonymous

      I thought for sure he had it this week.  I think his piece was not only the best thing he’s done all season but had a good shot at the win.  I liked it better than Lola’s, which seemed rushed and chaotic to me.  The wrapped tools?  Huh?  Her drawings were interesting, and that’s where she should have focused. But I thought Dusty’s piece was beautiful and well conceived. Simple, but it made its point.  I also really liked…oh, RATS!  I forget her name!  The one who broke down crying over her parents’ divorce a hundred years go. I expected her to be in the top three and was surprised that she wasn’t.

      I liked Bayete–I think he’d be fun to hang out with–but even he acknowledged that this piece was just terrible.  Worse than the Sucklord’s, and that’s saying something.

  • Guys, if I ever do make it onto reality TV, I will not only be expecting mean screencaps from you, but I will be personally disappointed if there aren’t any of me! 

  • Anonymous

    I really don’t understand all the Young Love.  (Wow, that sounds like a bitch about Twilight or something.)  His pieces usually seem  middle-of-the-road at best to me.  It cracks me up how absolutely literal these artists keep taking every challenge.  For the headline inspiration challenge, we get stacks of newspapers, oil-dripping money for the BP scandal, and sad, downturned heads over a map of the US for the economy headline.  I honestly can’t figure how some of them wound up in the top and at least one in the bottom.  They all seem to suffer from the same problem.

    Lola at least addressed the poetry of her headline rather than the prose.  So I’ would be OK with her win, I guess.  Bayete’s was baaaaad.  At least now he’s available to begin shooting the new sitcom “Bayete and the Sucklord”.  I don’t know what it would be about; I just like the title.

    • Pam Winters

      Yeah, I thought that they were supposed to respond to the headline itself, not necessarily the story content. Maybe it’s because I’m a poet and not a visual artist, but I was seeing headlines like “DIVINE” on one of the papers in the stack and thinking they’d be fun to explore in all their manifestations. Oddly enough, Bayete (bless his heart) seemed to have a similar idea–that is, he seemed to be responding to the chosen words themselves and not merely the story behind them–although he went nowhere with it.


    • Anonymous

      What a bunch of downers. Nobody went for the absurd, which I would have done. I was so angry when Jerry, I think, criticized Bayete for not referencing the fact that his headline came from a theater review. Who the fuck cares? That wasn’t the point of the assignment at all. It was about making a work of art from the headline, not from the political realities of the news story.

      • I know, right? The judges keep lambasting the artists for being literal (which they are, of course), but then Jerry gets bent out of shape over an unacknowledged theater review.  I generally like Jerry, but that had to be the most obtuse thing any of the judges have said in this season or the first one.

    • BuffaloBarbara

      They do all seem to have a bent toward the completely literal.  It’s weird, and very… surface?  Is that the right word?  It’s like they take whatever information comes to them, jot it down, and forget about it.  They’re not thinking about it, and it shows.

      • Pam Winters

        While I tend to agree, I don’t think it comes down to “not thinking.”

        I think it comes down to not listening to one’s own creative process or the voice of one’s inspiration.

        Maybe it’s got to do with the pressures and constraints of reality TV. I suspect that the “creative process” of TV producers is pretty different from that of your average artist–more like “making up a narrative and sanding off all the quirky bits.”

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know why Sucklord didn’t go home this week. Probably because he gives good camera. I think he’s next, though.

  • I have a feeling they get the judges before they think of the challenges, generally, which is how it’s so closely related. 

    Also I’m getting really sick of the judges insisting on a message and a story to the piece; so much for Greenberg, objecthood, and modern and postmodernism. They should have gotten an actual art historian somewhere on the judge’s panel, then at least there might be some more interesting ideas bandied about. 

    I would have liked Lola’s illustration more if I could have seen it as a whole. What the shit can you see of it from the long shot? Bad lighting/filming, WoA. Get on that. I have no problem with the tracing since she substantively transformed it into something different, with a different look and feel, with her own hand. Where was all this snobbery in the comments about the artist’s hand during the pop art challenge? See also: the last half century of art history. 

    I think Young won because they judges wanted to bring attention to Ai Weiwei’s plight more than they gave a shit about the piece. Too bad this didn’t come out before Ai Weiwei was released and forced to pay a giant fine. I bet there’s a much more interesting piece in the headlines about how he might go to jail for illegal fundraising since his fans are, unsolicited, sending him the money for the fine. But I like Young because he reminds me of a friend of mine from high school, albeit said friend is smarter and more articulate. 

    I was already done with Bayete. Dusty’s was trite, I’m sorry, and it harkened to 60s protest art and Kara Walker without doing anything new. I was surprised it was in the top. 

    I dunno. I was disappointed with the results of this week’s challenge. Felt like a bunch of weak sauce. I am glad they did finally switch to 3 on top, 3 on bottom though. But does anyone feel like they sort of rapidly run through the top three without really substantively looking at them so they can get to the apparently more satisfying work of eviscerating the bottom three? I have no idea what the judge’s value in a piece beyond “conveying a story/intent.” How boring. 

    • Actually, and now that I think about it, I don’t think the artists have any idea what the judges want either. 

  • I never get tired of the Sucklord. He can have all the camera time he wants, because he has gotten all those jokers to call him Sucklord all the time.  That is just the best thing about the whole show this season.

    That said, the problem with his work is that he is not an artist. There is art to the work he does (that got him on the show).  But that’s there’s a difference between those two things that can be a chasm.

    • Now I am The Bee

      Yes–I like SL, too, for the same reason.  The Hubs, who usually sits with earphones on while listening to Youtube while I watch these competition shows, always watches when Simon has to speak to Sucklord–he loves that Simon has to call him that and laughs and laughs. 

      • Anonymous

        My 14 year old son, too!  It never stops filling him with delight!  He reassures me that the Sucklord will not be eliminated until the very end.  “Mom!  Don’t you know your reality shows? That name ENSURES he’ll be in!  It’s comedy GOLD!  That guy with the accent has to talk to him A LOT more!”  

        • Now I am The Bee

          Oh that’s funny!  I often think I married a 14 year old!  LOL…

        • Anonymous

          I am neither male nor 14 years old, but that name gets me every time, too.  Is it bad that I want to get a kitten and name him Sucklord, just so that when I take him to the vet and it’s his turn the very nice office staff -who always call for the next patient with the pet’s name- will have to call out “Dr. K is ready for The Sucklord.”  My two cats would hate me for bringing home another, but it would almost be worth it just for the reactions.

    • Anonymous

      I think Simon and the Sucklord are adorable, and I want to see a spinoff. But as an artist, he is, let’s just say, not fully realized.

    • J Dreesen

      i like him because he feels like someone i would hang out with.  he’s candid and funny.  and even his name – he explained in the first episode – is self-deprecating and whimsical.

      (and yes, it helps that he got everyone to call him that!)

    • Anonymous

      Sucklord’s entire appearance on the show is performance art.  He yelled at the judges about their decision a week or so ago! and half got me to agree with him too.  Even they seemed chastened.  And who is told, “You can’t reference _________ anymore!” by a judge?  Only him.  Yes he is candid about “I could say this crap but I don’t believe it so I’m not gonna” and then he skates through.   Lola keeps talking about how she is attracted to him, and he already has a cozy insider relationship with the Mentor.  

      In the world of reality TV, The Sucklord leaves a refreshing aftertaste.

  • Judy_J

    I only watch the show now to watch Simon, and to see what China will be wearing.  I did kind of dig the outfit Sucklord wore to the gallery.  He’s the only one of the artists I can name….the others are just a pool of faces.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    I didn’t even find Young’s piece visually interesting–it was another case of very obviously giving him the win because he’s promoting a trendy issue that the judges want to pat him on the back for.  The piece itself, as art?  What’s its shelf-life, a year?  Dusty’s piece was an obvious interpretation, but at least it was an interpretation of the headline and not just a repetition of the headline.

    Sucklord… oh, honey.  I knew it would be either him or Bayete going home, and I guess it was Bayete because at least Suck managed to (very literally) convey his headline’s meaning, while Bayete’s didn’t really make any sense.  I like the Sucklord, but if he doesn’t step up his game, I’ll be with the decision to boot him.

    When Sarah K’s stuff was rightside up, it seemed interesting looking and intricate.  If she’d incorporated the headline better and made one huge disjointed piece instead of the little thing up top and something else falling, and… I think it could have been good, if she’d held much tighter to her concept.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, Sarah K’s stuff looked pretty good while she was making it, and then on the wall it just died. I agree with everything else you said, too.  

  • Anonymous

    I really thought we’d finally see the the of Sucklord this week. I have a hard time even typing the name its so juvenile and pretentious. But this is a reality competition so the Drama Vortex gets kept around by the producers. Rinse. Repeat.
    I suspect Young won this one as much for his choice of headline as for his work. Politically correct concern for missing artist. Clever on his part.

  • Now I am The Bee

    I like watching this show, as we get to see more of the creative process, unlike other (Project Runway) shows.  But I’m becoming annoyed with the judging.  It’s the inconsistancy!  They praise one piece that is obviously very literal (Dusty) but the will berate another for the same reason.  This is what has aggrivated me about the PR judging as well. 
    Anyway–Young’s piece was too…easy.  I’m disappointed it won. 
    But–I agree with the aufing of Bayete.  The door piece was just plain bad.  I also am confused about the love for Lola’s piece.  I thought it was confusing…just like the other piece–the paper on the floor.  Too obtuse for my little Midwestern mind, I guess. 

  • Young’s is forgettable, Lola’s is two works, neither one all that. And her scattered angst act is getting old. I would love Dusty’s work this week as much as I love him if he put wheels on it and called it a float. Sucklord is very entertaining, and I like some of his work (but then I think the Pier 39 Wack-a-mole is art). Bayete had a bad day and too much gold paint. Sara K’s piece did not match her narrative, which struck me as fairly intriguing. I most liked the newsprint coffin with the little piggies poking out and the nuclear bonepile.    

  • Anonymous

    Hey, I’ll take last week’s middle pieces late rather than never. Please? *insert bambi eyes here*

  • Anonymous

    Aw, I really like Dusty.  He just seems like an unpretentious guy from nowhere who happens to be really talented.  In my fondest imaginings of America someone as unexpectedly interesting as him lives in every third small town.  I mean, look at his portfolio of work: it’s really good!  And he teaches grade school, I repeat, GRADE SCHOOL art, in Alabama or Arkansas or wherever it is.  Not New York, not L.A.  How lucky are those kids!  Proof that our educational system is doing something very right.  (Full disclosure-I’m a small town/unfortunate state/high school theatre teacher….)  

  • Lori

    I partly blame the challenges.  Last season’s challenges seemed to be more ambiguous and at the same time better defined.   

  • Anonymous

    (TLo – love the new fonts/banner.)

    Young reminds me of every person who was waved past me for a teaching position. Grr. 

  • The only one I liked was Dusty’s. 

  • This show would be a huge hit on Comedy Central.  

  • Anonymous

    the only real difference between the winner & the second-to-the-loser is the difference between the black depth of milk cartons & the pointlessness of bloody dalmatian blobs on funny money.

    how do they judge this stuff? it’s all bad.

  • Joshua

    Gotta love Simon! I didn’t see what the judges saw in Lola’s piece, but it may have been difficult to see over television. It just seemed a little amateur to me. But clearly Bayete was the one to go. What a joke, and as ironically true his comment about laudable crap is, he just struck me as someone who does art because he hasn’t found anything else to do. I responded the best to Dusty’s work despite feeling it was a little on the crafty side. But of all the artists, he seemed not only to translate the headline well but to create something that would look great in the NYT offices. I did like Young’s work though and thought he was onto something making the papers black.

  • Anonymous

    Am I the only one who thinks of Joey Lawrence when they see that WOA is the next blog entry?

    • Good catch, pretty much sums up the show.

  • Anonymous

    This is very similar to Young’s win for the Pop challenge – his work isn’t what won, it was what he referenced that sealed the deal.

  • Anonymous

    Young’s piece was easier to “display’ at the Times Headquarters. Just plop it on the floor. 
    I liked Dusty’s piece when it was shown “close up”. I thought using the texture of the crumpled newspapers was a great way to go. 
    It was a very good solution to the challenge but not as “artsy” as Young’s bundles of papers.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, ChaquitaPhilly, just what I was thinking. He won because it was easier to display. I actually liked the weepy girl’s piece the best. Lola is ever the Emperor’s New Clothes. Agree completely with TLo’s assessment above. In this living room, our reaction to Young’s piece was “Yeah, so?” 

  • Anonymous

    Young is very overrated.  His art is very one-note.  I was shocked that the Poseur won but maybe her piece was more impressive on a nicer flat screen TV than mine.  As for suckie, he is pandering to the judges and cameras and failing miserably.  He doesn’t give his pieces enough thought.  He had no connection to his topic last night and it showed.  Likewise Bayete, who actually did connect with his topic, failed to infuse the art with his perspective as an artist.  He has a GREAT sense of humor (I loved the black people don’t own the right to the fist pump comment).  But where was Bayete in his past few works?  It is no coincidence that the challenge he won (movement) was the sole piece that reflected his humor.  Religion and race are heavy subjects that could use a dose of humor.  If he puts himself into his art work and produces more than literal interpretations of the topics, he might be on to something.  As of now, the judges made the right decision.

  • Anonymous

    Late as usual:
    I find that the secret to enjoying this show is to ignore art and art history while watching it, to the extent that that is possible.

    So, anyway, I was worried for a moment that they would reward my least favourite contestant and send my favourite home, but given that the latter was accompanied by reality show music of doom throughout the episode, it was obviously a fake-out.

    The top:
    Young. Young is seeming like the judges’ pet this season, but so far I like him personally (and I like that he’s commented here several times). I am a bit ambivalent about his work, yet again. I can appreciate it on certain levels: it occurs to me that he seems to favour a somewhat “colder” approach to his work, presenting things in a way that they draw attention to themselves but do not offer much in the way of a comment on the subject so presented. As with his piece in the Pop Art challenge, it seems as though this is just supposed to draw your attention to the topic. It is a focus for one’s own meditation on the subject: you get from it only what you bring to it.

    Dusty. Dusty seems like a nice guy and I wish him well, but this didn’t work for me. It was profoundly literal, for one, and I just didn’t find it intriguing. It should have had, but didn’t have, any resounding emotional impact with me, and that is the critical element of the piece.

    Lola. I admit she is my least favourite contestant – so I state my biases upfront. I also admit I have an utter hatred of the use of text as a fundamental element of a painting or drawing – more biases upfront. Nonetheless, I found many of her captions witty and amusing (e.g. “arthritis”), and this is the first work of hers in which I saw anything at all, though I am not, to say the least, all that fond of it. I remain implacably immune to her illustration style – I do not find her sketching engaging, I find it crude and amateurish. On top of which, I don’t find it new or original.

    The bottom:
    Sarah K. This is, suffice it to say, not my favourite piece – she remains my favourite of the contestants (more biases!), but it was an off week for her. I think she became too wrapped up in the technique of it that she lost the overall sense of the work and, more importantly, lost sense of its translatability to other people. It’s disjointed, but not in the right way – its two parts seem not to relate, where they should seem connected despite the disconnection. Still, it’s an interesting failure.

    The Sucklord. I think he may have succeeded in his reality show saving throw. How else to account for his continued presence? His work in this episode is quite an accomplishment, though: he managed to create something painfully literal and straightforward, yet simultaneously nonsensical (and not in a good way). At least he knew it didn’t work, but that seems like faint praise.

    Bayeté. I liked him in this episode, but I have never been fond of his work and that didn’t change here. On a personality level, this was a good episode for him: the exchange with Dusty about fists in the air was great, he was aware of the failure of his piece, and absolutely gracious in defeat. On that level, in that way, he acquitted himself well, but it was probably time for him to go.

    I’m forgetting something, but it’s not coming to me.