WOA: Children are our future

Posted on November 03, 2011

Despite the presence of children – which usually signals a disruption of the proceedings in a reality competition, this was a pretty great episode.

The artists all got along fairly well with their kids and the kids themselves had produced some pretty impressive art on their own. Plus, they kept the challenge simple: use the kid’s art as your starting point and make a companion piece. Granted, the Pop Art challenge couldn’t have been simpler either, and most of them managed to screw that part up.

But most of the entries this week were of decent quality. Even the pieces in the bottom had some value to them. Like we said, in another type of reality competition, kids would be a disruption, but with artists, it turns out to be a great way to tap into their creativity and sensitivity.

And we got a pretty good judging session, which isn’t surprising, because when all the work is of a higher quality than some of the junk we’ve been getting for the last couple of weeks, it gives the judges more to work with. SJP is a fine judge; articulate and empathetic. She had a great rapport with the kids in the room And of course, we got China Chow looking fabulous in Stella McCartney.

So congrats to Kymia. After last week’s almost-win, you are firmly in the judges’ good graces for a while. Use this time wisely.

We thought her piece was the clear winner here. Technically, it’s of the highest quality, but what makes it good art is the starkness of the image and the story it tells, as well as the brilliant idea she had of asking her child artist what was happening just outside the frame in her own are, which allowed them to come up with the winning image together. A superlative job all around.

And sort-of congrats to Dusty, who didn’t win it, but managed to halt a steadily downward spiral that would have gotten him eliminated this week if he hadn’t pulled it together. Personally, we thought his piece was a bit too literal and a bit too child-like. Sure, he’s working with a child, but that doesn’t mean his art has to look like something a child made. Still, it had a personal quality to it that the judges responded well to.

And it’s goodbye to Tewes, who left the judges unimpressed one time too many.

We didn’t think this was so awful. As an idea, it’s unfinished and doesn’t really owe anything to the original piece that inspired it. Taken on its own, it has nice graphic quality to it and a vague message of sorts. Bill nailed it when he called it a “PSA.” Tewes might have been able to defend the work if he believed more strongly in it (or at least half as strongly as The Sucklord felt about it), but he killed it for himself when he admitted he literally could not imagine any other way of interpreting the original piece. Kiss of death right there, buddy. You don’t tell an art critic you have no imagination.

Let’s check out the other two who almost went home:

God bless those artists and their tendency to burst into tears. Reality television GOLD. Sarah Jessica Parker must have been peeing herself with joy at the sight of this breakdown. Oh, we know she made the pouty, teary face, but she’s an actress. Anyway, we thought this wasn’t a bad piece taken on its own. It had some real power to it. It seems to us that Sara let that power overwhelm her a bit. That would be fine if this were her own piece, but she was supposed to tie it back some way to a child’s piece of art and she failed to do that. In addition, we tend to agree with the judges that the scale of her piece was way off in comparison to her child’s piece. Still, we don’t think she was playing to the cameras here. This was a deeply felt moment for her and it seems to have shocked her with its force. We’ll be kind and assume that DIVORSE is supposed to represent her ten-year-old self’s understanding of how to spell the word.

Unlike Sara, however, Sucklord was playing to the cameras BIG TIME. That whole “I’ve connected to this child and I would rather die than let her down” business was awkward and eyeroll-inducing. Ironically, if he hadn’t spent so much time playing it to the hilt, he might have produced something worthwhile here, even if it is way too literal an interpretation. We really liked the idea of using posing figures to make the branches of the tree. Had he developed that idea much further and played down the model-making aspects of the piece, he might have produced something worth looking at and talking about. Jerry finally hit the wall on the action figures and Star Wars stuff and did we call that or what? The order has been given. Sucklord is going to have to produce art without relying on his toys. We’ll see if he’s up to the task or if he’s going to feel once again that he has to act like an ass in order to stay in the game.

[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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