Work of Art is Eliminating Artists in Height Order
Sometime during the first minute of this week’s episode of Work of Art, my TV’s closed captioning simply said: “[All groaning]”. That’s a fitting reaction to most of the episode.
No two ways about it: this week was incredibly boring. The challenge (work with kids) was unoriginal, the guest judge (producer Sarah Jessica Parker) was a punt, and the elimination (Tewz) was overdue. There was crying, but no tits. In light of this, we’ll stick to a few general observations:
Seriously, they’re eliminating people in height order. Ugo is at least six feet, because that’s how tall men are in generic female fantasies, and he left in the first episode. Kathryn, the second elimination, doomed herself: she’s marginally girl-tall, but she kept wearingenormous heels. In the double elimination, Leon (~5’11″) and Jazz-minh (~5’10″) each had an easy two inches on the next-tallest boy and girl, respectively. Tewz, Bayete, and Dusty are all roughly the same height, and of those, Tewz is already gone; meanwhile, Bayete has had an erratic run on the show, and Dusty’s luck in this week’s challenge - he’s a schoolteacher, the challenge was to work with kids – was pointedly not enough to earn immunity next week. What is the meaning of this? It should be noted that both the executive producer of the show – Sarah Jessica Parker – and the principal judge – Jerry Saltz – are short. Is there an agenda at work?
Sara Jimenez’s kid, in this week’s challenge, has a quilt-like collage of words she loves. On it, written out over brightly-colored washes, are “Pirates”, “Bunny”, “Hope”, “Bacon”, “Pirates” again, and, right at the center, “Offended”.
Lola’s “my mom dated Al Pacino for ten years” backstory, as recounted in this week’s episode, was no surprise to diligent AFC readers because we broke that shit.
Not one person in the house seems to have noticed, over the course of four episodes, that Tewz’s name is misspelled on their blackboard. I think he missed his chance to say something about that.
HS: eBay is this collective of non-hierarchy where you can access anything you want at any time. You’re not going to be more prejudiced and say, “I’m not going to look for this because that’s low. It’s low art. It’s not important, it’s not worth my time. I’m going to go to the Artnet, and look at great art. I’m going to look at this, because I have values and standards. Why waste an hour looking for all kinds of stupid stuff on eBay?” But what if you let yourself just go for a few hours and look at the stupid stuff that shows up there? What do you make out of that? What do you find? What do you learn?
HS: I know artists who are constantly on eBay collecting images for their work. I do very little of that. I’m on eBay all the time: I’m on it when I walk down the street and bump into a rock on the ground. I look at it and I say, “What is it? Why is it here? What kind of rock is it?” There’s this instant awareness when you hit something, you realize that you’re living in a picture world – eBay and the computer is already in your mind, and you’re ahead.
PJ: You know, a while back I asked an artist friend how he looks when he’s searching for material on the web. And he said [paraphrasing], “When you read a newspaper, you’re looking at the column of the text. If you’re browsing in a context, in an art context, you’re looking at everything. You’re not just looking at the object. You’re looking at how everything is placed in the browser. You’re looking at everything in the screen.” And I wonder whether there’s some similarity between that process and the process of walking down the street and looking at everything and looking at it without hierarchical concerns. They sound sort of similar to me.
HS: Well, here’s the difference. To preserve ourselves, it’s our nature to look at things with hierarchical concerns, whether those are based on belief and religion, or on language that we brought, or on whether we are literate or illiterate. The tools that we have control the way that we engage the world. We all have internal restrictions that are already part of us, and they make us focus on certain things in a world where you can see everything.