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Episode 2: “The Shape of Things to Come”

June 18, 2010

Challenge: Create a piece of conceptual art using materials found at a technology graveyard


Winner: Miles’ “Worst Place”


Loser:  Trong’s “What Would Tom Friedman Do?”

Gabriel Kiley, ABN Managing Editor



That was my reaction when my predicted show winner Trong was eliminated from Wednesday night’s episode. In fact, I wrote during our live blog that he would win not only the week two challenge, but he would also come away as the victor of the entire show.

This is why I’m a lousy gambler.

Granted, Trong’s “WWTFD?” conceptual piece left something to be desired, but it was not the weakest piece of the field. Frankly, I thought Jaime Lynn and Judith were more vulnerable to elimination than Trong.*

You can’t help but wonder if Miles’ saucy comments about Trong’s piece influenced the judges. After all, the two-time winner certainly brings a credible voice to the show, but the timing and the place of his remarks were totally out of line. Contestants should not comment on their competitors’ pieces in front of the judges.

I’m sure Trong will survive the sudden departure; after all, he’s already an established artist with a big future ahead of him. But I think the show will miss his presence; he brought a Zen-like personality to the show. It’s too bad that the judges didn’t give him a chance to show his stuff over the long run.

If I learned anything from Wednesday night’s show, I learned never to get into the prediction business.

* As an aside, I have to admit that when I first heard the name Tom Friedman, I thought it was in reference to New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas Friedman (BTW, “The World is Flat” is a brilliant book).

Catherine Klene, ABN Editor

Oh, Miles…


I want to still like you.  I really do.  I think you’re a quirky individual who produces great clips for the show, with your narcolepsy in the electronics graveyard and your almost asphyxiating everyone with your chemicals.  I enjoy your art as well; it’s intriguing and thought-provoking.  Granted, I didn’t understand the concrete a-holes, but still, the piece as a whole was a well-executed concept.  The judges couldn’t stop gushing over your piece, although I’m still not convinced that nap you took was performance art so much as a chance to get some much needed shut-eye.

However, that little stunt you pulled during Trong’s critique was inappropriate.  Trash talking and sabotage are a time-honored traditions in reality TV, but you are not a judge.  Your personal opinion does not matter during the assessment of others’ works.  You’re there to compete, so do it with some class and focus on your own work and sleep schedule.  I’ll give you this one snarky judging comment, Miles, but let’s not make it a habit, OK?

Off my soapbox now.  As to the rest of the art, I did not think Trong deserved to go home.  His piece was by no means revolutionary, but he embraced the idea of conceptual art, whereas Jaime Lynn made a painting with a vacuum and a lamp nearby.  The judges put it very well when they said she made a set design for a theater production.


Trong may not have defended his piece, but Judith filibustered her wire diorama.  I’m not sure how long she actually spoke, but all if crossfades from the brilliant Bravo editors and Jerry Saltz’s time-out gesture are any indication, Judith was in panic mode.  Hopefully she can get past her fear, because if she ever lands in the bottom three again, she may talk herself right off the show.

In next week’s episode, if the preview videos are any indication, Miles will attempt to set the studio on fire with an extension cord and some turpentine.  Looking forward to it.

Kate Stieren, ABN Editor

After seeing episode two, I was truly impressed by an artist whose first impression was lacking.  Nao, who started off episode two calling the other artists “children,” proved that her artistic ability stretched far beyond the rubber-band-like creation that we saw in episode 1.  Her work interested me without an explanation.  She created something that many viewers could appreciate, whether they had a true interest in art or not.

Despite a few sassy comments throughout the episode from certain contestants, the group of reality stars seem unusually laid back.  From what I have seen on the show, the competitors seem to be somewhat constructive towards one another.  I was a bit surprised when Miles chimed in during the judges’ critique of Trong, although the judges didn’t seem to mind.

Miles continues to impress the judges, despite his nap in the “appliance graveyard” at the beginning of the challenge.  He included napping in his creative process again when he chose to be a part of his artwork at the gallery, taking a snooze on the bed that was part of his scene.  The judges appreciated Miles’ decision to incorporate himself into his work and rewarded him as the winner of the challenge.

Maybe in some circumstances, napping can get you ahead in life.

Marylyn Simpson, ABN Editor

It may not sound very “green,” but I have to admit I am not the biggest fan of reconverting old technology into works of art, or anything else for that matter. Maybe it’s because of my father’s reluctance to part with his busted monitors, fried hard drives and ancient floppy discs, which have turned our basement into a virtual shrine honoring the computer gods. Or maybe my sour attitude towards junk can be attributed to my loathing of clutter or anything resembling seemingly worthless items taking up useful space. So, when I tuned-in to Work of Art’s latest episode and saw the mountain of technological junk staring back at me through the TV screen, I immediately felt overwhelmed and stressed out, sympathizing with Miles and his impromptu nap in the appliance graveyard.

I may sound a bit biased towards this episode’s challenge, but honestly, I was not a fan. I was shocked when the more established and well-known Trong was eliminated instead of Jaime Lynn and her window display. I was equally taken aback by Miles’ comments towards Trong’s piece, as I thought the show was meant to be judged by the judges and not the other contestants. But in the midst of my distaste towards the challenges, Trong’s exit from the show and Miles’ “critiques,” I will say that I have a better appreciation of the art form. The intense detail that went into Nicole’s television set, Nao’s pop-up book-like interpretation of the city sky line springing out of a cracked open television set and Abdi’s sculpture of a television-headed person playing video games all made me re-think my aversion towards the work, thought and labor processes that go into this genre of sculpture.

It may never be my favorite art form, but just as any good work of art expands its viewers perspectives, I definitely felt a sense of reflection and appreciation in this challenge.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rose Hybridizer permalink
    July 17, 2010 1:37 am


    What’s wrong with this picture? There’s something fundamentally flawed with an art world and serious critcs that are complicit in promoting a reality show that can’t establish a unique format and follows cooking, design, hair design competetions, etc.. Who gives undergraduate level assignments to serious artists, asks them to collaborate on a project and then eliminates them due to their inability to get along? Serious art is about a unique and individual view of the world, not the expectation that contestants will be interested in solving problems invented for mass tv programming appeal, as inane as that generally is. Putting art in the same category as the other Bravo “art network” shows, with the, “sorry, pack your tools and go,” goodbye is offensive to all those who have dedicated themselves to a more serious practice of art making and sends the message that the making of art is on an equal par with making a good meal or getting a good haircut.

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