Opinion

Work of Art Recap: Jerry Saltz Touches Wooden Balls, Simon de Pury Talks Bowel Movements

Bravo’s massively entertaining (at least to me) Work of Art is back! Or at least it came back last week. Apologies for the lack of a recap; we were too distracted by Sexy Ugo to write anything down. But since he was eliminated, it’s no longer an issue! We can focus on the art! And Jerry Saltz fondling wooden testicles!

This week, our intrepid artistes (check Art Fag City for a reminder of who they actually are) are asked to take inspiration from the ridiculously awesome Parkour, and include the theme of motion in their work. The show creators chose to honor Bravo’s obsession with team challenges, and thus divide the group of artists in two. They are then instructed to each make individual pieces that would fit into a group show, which is where shit gets wild.

Over on Team One, Michelle somehow gets started on poop sculptures, which lead to the creation of Team Digestion. They all get really into it, talking about doing a series of sculptures that, show “something digesting something else,” as Kymia (whose eyeliner looks perfect as usual) so eloquently tells Simon, who eventually shouts, “Shat it out?” in disgust. This entire tangent seems designed to get Simon to utter the word “pooping” as often as possible. Which could be a good idea. As much as we adore Monsieur de Pury, “Go for it!” isn’t exactly an iconic catchphrase. Simon, The Sucklord, and his rat tail all (correctly) think that digestion isn’t a fast enough motion for a challenge based on this.

Team Two makes even less sense. Young Sun Han talks about North and South Korea, Lola goes on about the phases of the moon, Kathryn talks about more organ-sculpting and the ridiculously spelled Jazz-Minh begins a tale of some other crazy thing before Simon can take no more. He summons all the artists, tells them their ideas suck and have nothing to do with the challenge, and to start over. Leon awesomely signs “fuck.”

Time for Plan B (which might pop up again if Lola and The Sucklord keep flirting the way they are. Way to step it up, man). Team One selects a playground theme, and Team Two goes with loops. Young Sun Han clearly has the best ideas and suggests to Kathryn that to fit in the loop theme she could do a continuous video of organs exploding into each other. After Simon tells her that her piece this week looks exactly the same as last week’s, she freaks out and compares herself to Francis Bacon.

All the Top Chef commercials showing Padma’s hideous “Texan” denim dress are incredibly distracting. But we return to the artistes! They work dramatically! The Sucklord says Lola’s piece sucks! The Sucklord tells Lola something is “dirty!” Michelle starts building a wooden pedophile! Bayeté films himself spinning, which is a cool idea, but the execution of which makes him look unhinged! Kymia, in addition to her perfect eyeliner, has really rad leopard print nails! In news not appropriate to break with an exclamation point, we learn that Kathryn isn’t feeling well due to Crohn’s disease, which is awful. Then the artists bond and give each other nicknames!

The gallery show rolls around, and one of the first people shown there is none other than Johnny Iuzzini, tattooed pastry chef of Top Chef Just Desserts! Way to go with the cross promotion, Andy Cohen. The intelligent Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn also returns as a guest judge.

Michelle’s wooden pedophile sculpture with tuggable balls predictably rules. The Sucklord’s game looks pretty fun. Lola’s giant ball of shredded paper looks terrible. Dusty’s cutout of himself sitting by himself on a seesaw also looks vaguely predatory. Were all these artists abused as children or something? Bayeté’s video piece is playful and well-suited to the challenge. Sarah K’s train tracks are nice and clean. Tewz wraps rope around a barrel and calls it art. Sarah J.’s sculpture of a girl on a swing is reminiscent of her drawing style, and Kymia’s tongue mold is pretty cool, as was Leon’s destroyed room. As much as we already love Young Han Sun, we don’t really see how his sheet metal is reminiscent of the earthquake in Japan. Kathryn’s video art is interesting, but it does look exactly the same as her work from last week.

In the end, Team Playground comes out on top, with Bayeté and Michelle called out for having the best pieces, which gives us the traumatizing visual of Jerry Saltz pulling on a pair of wooden testicles. Bayeté’s piece was nice and he wins, though Michelle’s was, in our opinion, a bit more intelligent. The Sucklord is once again not included in the top. Which begs the question, is his success in the real world affecting his success on the show? Which brings up the question of why is he even on the show? He’s already pretty well known. Is he simply trying to get press for his business? Is it some sort of performance art thing? Based on his history with VH1, does he really just love reality shows? It’s all too meta.

In any case, some people have to be on the bottom. Lola, Tewz and Kathryn are the crappy three this week. The judges find “no movement” in Lola’s piece, and suggest she could have found a more innovative use for her materials (shredded papers from a doctor’s office). Tewz wrapped a hose around a barrel. Jerry finds Kathryn’s work repetitive, and as soon as she hears the criticism she lets a roaring sob comparable only to other people on Bravo reality shows. To be fair, the poor girl was feeling really ill.

Kathryn is sent home, which seems ridiculous considering Tewz wrapped a hose around a barrel. Obviously they weren’t going to send home the massively hot and entertaining Lola, but Kathryn seemed a crappy choice. Especially since her crying jag clearly showed she had a boatload of crazy ready for the season. But seriously, she left a very graceful exit video, and was probably one of the more talented artists on the show. We will miss her and her sleeve tattoos.

Stay tuned for next week, where the artists will make Pop art. Considering the Sucklord already basically makes Warhol-like art-inspired-by-crappiness, we are about to reach whole new levels of meta. Can’t wait to see what Bill Powers says about this one!

Work of Art: Season Two appears on the Bravo TV network every Wednesday at 9/8c.

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