WOA: Cherry Pop

Posted on October 27, 2011

Y’know, they couldn’t have made things any easier for these airheads.

This was a “high school art class” level of introduction to Pop Art. So why…

… after they were literally walked right up to the definition and most famous example of Pop Art, did these artists all have such a serious problem with the concept? Almost all of the entries could have been produced by the artists for any other type of challenge. They all just did what they normally do and tacked on some sort of vague reference to Pop Art.


We shouldn’t be so snotty about it – and we more than understand the vast differences between this game show and the art world – but having someone who interviews starlets on Oscars red carpets involved in the process is a serious step away from the “credibility” side of things. You might as well have a “We picked YOUR piece to sell our new flavor of toothpaste!” challenge.

And hey, we love actresses on Oscars red carpets. It’s a huge part of our lives. But advertising-based entertainment journalism and the art world are such a ridiculous melding that we’re a little disappointed none of these so-called badass artists really had the balls to comment on the absurdity of artists competing on television for the prize of being featured in a glossy entertainment magazine. We hate to state the obvious, but Warhol at the height of his creativity would have found this whole scenario ripe for exploring. Maybe that was the point of including this guy; to challenge the artists on the absurdity of the situa– oh, who are we kidding? The point was to have some cross promotion and product placement.

At least Rob had his bona fides. We tend to think he argued a little too strenuously for a TV friendly, “personal storytelling” form of pop art, but that’s just us.



We thought this was good, but overpraised. It was the most “pop” of the pieces offered, so it probably would have won no matter what. We think it sort of lacks a message, though. It just says “PROP 8” in a really pretty way. What gave the work power was the audience participation and we tend to think it was a bad idea to encourage people to write on the back. He should have asked them to mark up the front.



This was a fairly decent entry and deserved its runner-up status but we think she stumbled upon something that the judges happened to like. She didn’t have an idea more developed than “advertising uses sex” and “advertising lies.” Fair enough. But we think the quality of the picture, which does look like it could be an ad, was a happy accident for her.

One thing’s for sure, the offerings on the lower end of the scale were so bad, they picked a good week to choose to send two of them home. Ironically, several of them were pretty faithful to the ideas of Pop Art.



We were shocked that Dusty managed to squeak by again this week. We were sure he was going home. His work hasn’t been anything but weak and he seems so uncomfortable being there. This piece actually might have worked if he’d managed to come up with any sort of message or idea justifying it. A punchline, if you will. That “How could you?” is just irritatingly vague and doesn’t elevate the piece past simply being a trash can with writing on it.



She’s lucky she managed to impress the judges enough before this challenge because this would have sent a weaker contestant home. It’s ridiculously derivative. The cell phone camera angle didn’t modernize it as much as she hoped it would.



This was one of the ones, as it was unfolding over the course of the episode, that had us yelling “What are you TALKING about? This isn’t Pop Art!” There were more than a few others that had us yelling, but this was the worst of the lot. What’s “Pop” about pictures of yourself making faces? And the paint splatter episode only illustrated how completely without concept her piece was. “I like it!” Well, if spilled paint improves your piece, you might want to take a step back and ask why that is. Eliminating her was the right decision.



But we have to admit, we were really surprised to see them send Leon home. We absolutely agreed with the judges that this was a bunch of cliches with no ideas behind it – but you could have easily said that about half the entries this week. And the OTHER half would have been examples of things that AREN’T Pop Art in any way. At least this demonstrated an understanding of the term. We guess what annoyed us about his elimination was Bill’s comment of surprise that he didn’t bring his deafness into the piece, which strikes us as a really odd, and shockingly limiting, thing to criticize him for. He’s not required to reference his deafness all the time and he probably thought a Pop Art piece wasn’t the time to do it. Sure, it could have been interesting to get his perspective on mass-mediated culture as a deaf person, but we thought the expectation that he was supposed to was a little narrow-minded.

And like we said, there were plenty of bad entries to choose from.

[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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