Work of Art: Moobs and Boobs

You know, I really thought the public art project was going to be the creative low point of this series. I mean how much worse than a dangerous tree fort and an assortment of lumps can these pieces get? Sadly, on this episode we found out. And on the plus side, not one but two contestants get topless for art!

It’s another team exercise! The excitement drains out of the room faster than a moment of Lohan sobriety. The artists have dry heaves all around when the announcement is made. The theme is “opposites” and they pick from dualities like male/female, heaven/hell, order/chaos, WANGA/talent, Jaclyn/clothing. Simon warns them “Zey moost be blown avay!” with their work. Poor Simon, unless Miles finally succeeds in blowing up the studio, that’s not going to happen.

Peregrine the patchwork girl is paired with Mark on heaven/hell. Mark, having been raised a good Catholic, knows exactly what heaven and hell is. Hell is a hot, fiery place where you go if you die after touching yourself but before getting to confession for absolution. Heaven is a happy place with naked ladies. Oh, and by the way, since Peregrine is a lady, would she mind getting nude?

“You get nude.”

“No, you get nude.”

Peregrine, having been left in the wild to be raised by feral hippies, nixes letting Mark take naked pictures of her. She wants subtlety, a desire I would never have guessed from her clothing choices. In a nice bit of manipulation, she cajoles Mark into taking his shirt off to expose a scar from childhood surgery. I think this idea may be a little too subtle, unless she’s creating a parallel between our health care system and hell. Besides, it’s not like great works of art haven’t been made from unsubtle interpretations of religious ideas.  For example


The other artists seem equally bereft of ideas. Nicole and Abdi are assigned chaos/order. Nicole wants to build a machine of some kind to represent order, which sounds cool, but also very difficult. Abdi wants an explosion. Sure, Abdi, we all want an explosion. If the success of Michael Bay tells us anything, it’s that everybody loves explosions, even more than they like good movies. But it’s a bit hard to translate to a gallery show. He’s lost, which I suppose is ironic when his theme is chaos. If only his theme were irony.

This leaves Jaclyn and Miles with male/female. Gee, I wonder what Jaclyn will do to represent “female”? And there’s no more strapping example of manhood than Miles. If they had any sense, they would have Miles take “female” and Jaclyn take “male” to make things interesting, but they don’t. Instead they decide that Miles will represent “male” by punching walls with his wee elf fists, and Jaclyn will represent “female” by pretending to masturbate. At least both sexes can be equally insulted.

Believe it or not, there is some reasoning behind their unbelievably stupid idea. Men, you see, are uncontrollable beasts, hence the wall punching. Women, on the other hand represent control, hence the masturbating. Wait, what? It takes self-control to masturbate? I have been doing it all wrong. Oh, I guess there’s some bullshit Cosmo-girl reasoning along the lines of taking control of one’s sexuality.  But still, men=impulsive and women=control? It has the enlightened social sensibility of Kathryn Heigl’s latest romcom Uptight Shrew and Boorish Idiot Hate Each Other At First But then Fall In Love and Get Married.

By the way, Miles has convinced himself that he’s a manipulative genius. Why? Because he convinced Jaclyn to get naked and photograph herself. Yes, you’re a smooth talking mofo, Miles. Next you can talk Simon into wearing a double-breasted suit or George Clooney into dating hot women. I be more inclined to think Jaclyn manipulated you into thinking you manipulated her, if Jaclyn weren’t kind of an idiot.

Jacklyn: I think I should take a picture of myself naked.

Miles: Hey, you know what would be great? If you took a picture of yourself naked.

Jaclyn: Yeah, that what I said. It’s what I’ve done for everything, including my prom picture and drivers license photo.

Miles: No really, a nude self-portrait would be amazing. Just throwing ideas out there.

Jaclyn: I know they’re amazing. That’s why I’m doing it. Again. That and my many, many issues.

Miles: Excellent! I’m glad you’re taking my suggestion. Good talk.

At any rate, the artists make a quick trip for supplies and then start to work on their poor executions of terrible concepts. Except Abdi and Nicole. They have poor execution of an interesting concept (Nicole) and poor execution of no concept (Abdi). To represent chaos, he’s constructed what looks like the aftermath of a smurf disembowelment.

Nicole attempts to help him by babbling something about the big bang, creation, and Socrates’ Cave. Abdi nods as if it does as if this makes sense, but I am confused. What is Socrates Cave? Is that where the smurfs are killed? Well, this little claymation video informs me that Socrates’ Cave is a metaphor described in Plato’s writing. Imagine a group of slaves chained in a cave, a situation not unlike your average reality TV show. They have a wall in front of them and a fire behind them. People pass by the fire, casting shadows on the wall in front of the contestants prisoners. It’s like the worst cable system in the world, but it’s all the houseguests prisoners have. They talk about the shadows, like which ones are fat and which shadow is sleeping with that total shadow slut with shadow herpes. Eventually, one of the prisoners is voted out of the cave in a highly contentious tribal council. Jeff Probst douses their torch and casts them outside, where they see the world has way cooler stuff than shadows, like that post cave-eviction interview with Julie Chen. Mind totally blown, dude. I’m still a little confused, because unless claymation has lied to me – and claymation is the most trustworthy source of information ever invented, the metaphor is more about enlightenment than chaos, but Abdi latches on to that story like spray tanner on a Jersey Shore star.

For her part, Nicole wants to make a machine where a viewer turns a handle that turns some gears which in turn pull a long tape with imprinted with random words from a wooden head. She has some explanation about society and control. Sorry, Nicole, if you wanted to show “control” the machine should masturbate. Perhaps Jacklyn can steer you in the right direction. Besides, control is not the same thing as order. On the other hand, I’m a sucker for anything with gears.

Meanwhile, Miles retires to the roof to photograph himself shirtless. Of anybody, he’s the one exposing himself the most, and I mean that in both an emotional and acreage of skin sense.

Shouldn’t we be more concerned about the missing nipple than the scar?

Finally, Simon shows up to observe the wreckage. I really hope he’s taken to drinking heavily beforehand (I imagine schnapps in a silver flask), nobody should have to do this sober. Jaclyn’s photo renders him speechless. I assume this is from boredom, since we’ve seen it from her before. It’s way more interesting than Miles’ wall idea, at least.

“Ah yes, in German vee call zis autospielenwankenfrauen.”

Moving along (and hopefully sneaking a nip from the flask), Simone turns to Nicole and Abdi. Simon’s clearly unimpressed with them, despite Abdi throwing out “Socrates’ Cave” for the first of about 500 times this episode. And why should he be impressed? All they’ve got is a wooden wheel, smurf guts, and high level bullshittery.

Finally (nip from flask), there’s Mark and Peregrine, now equipped with giant photos of shirtless Mark. Peregrine has coated her photo with what Simon initially thinks are buttons, but which Peregrine explains are grommets. Hell is bedazzled moobs, apparently. I can’t disagree. Simon leaves to finish his flask.

“Your terrible art has blinded me. Flask!”

Peregrine goes into overdrive to further hellify her portrait. What’s worse that bedazzled moobs? Bedazzled moobs smoking cigarettes, my friends. She wanders the streets of New York picking up used cigarettes from the street. Miles is coerced into go along after she convinces him it would be just like picking twinkleberries and mushmallowrooms back in the enchanted forest. She worries that collecting cigarette butts off the street will make her look like a homeless person, apparently blissfully unaware her clothing has already accomplished that task.

Miles, for his part, tries to further his case that he has Jedi mind powers over his fellow contestants. He (allegedly) convinced Ryan to buy some tar, then turned around and told him it was hard to work with so that Ryan would leave it behind. Now that precious, precious tar is all Miles’. In your face, Ryan! So basically, Miles, your powers of persuasion have garnered you the 1,438th nude picture of Jaclyn and a pot of tar. Meanwhile, Peregrine has talked Mark into posing nude and you, the master manipulator, into collecting disgusting refuse from the gutters of New York. Advantage: Peregrine.

Miles: Hey, you told me there would be puppies in this dumpster!

Peregrine: Keep looking. They like to hide under the cigarette butts. You can just hand those to me so I can use them in my subtle art. You know where else puppies like to hide? Under hoboes.

Let’s get to the art show and judging of this crap, shall we? China looks very ‘80s fab in her dress, like static made into glitter. And look! It’s Kyra Sedgewick from The Closer! And Samantha Mathis from whatever she’s doing these days! And there’s this guy.

That’s Terence Koh, who from what I google-gather is the Lady GaGa of the art world.

Anyhow, Terence is merely there to be fabulous and reassure himself that he has nothing to worry about from these young punks. Ryan McGinnis is our guest judge. For once, I don’t have to google anything, but only because I’ve had this piece of his as my desktop for about a year. I’m not sure “desktop art I like” = “great art in the eyes of the cultural elite,” but it’s good enough for me. Also, he’s cute and asks the contestants embarrassing questions.

For starters, they have Mark show his scars, again. Miles covers his eyes, but is it really any worse than the art? Take a look.

Peregrine’s looks like Miles contracted a terrible disease after visiting the evil Mom in Coraline. Mark’s looks like an ad for heartburn medication. The judges also hate it, calling it too literal. So they  think heaven is literally a fat man with light coming out of his stomach? What church have they been going to? Mark and Peregrine turn on each other, proving that hell really is other people.

Abdi and Nicole are also heavily criticized, and deservedly so. Nicole’s “order” looks like a third grade project on how pulleys work.  I have expect a little card explaining gear ratios and transfer of energy.

Worlds most complicated Pez dispenser.

Abdi’s painting is universally reviled, even though he throws out that Socrates’ Cave thing again. Amongst the comparisons made by the judges: a cactus, green coral, and the Incredible Hulk.

This reminds me – I need to clean out the fridge.

Socrates, you bastard, how could you and your overly complicated metaphor do this to poor Abdi?

On the other hand, they love Miles and Jaclyn’s work, even though it’s easily as bad as the others (Full NSFW version of Jaclyn’s here). Jaclyn simply cannot say the word “masturbate,” providing yet more material for her future therapist to work with. She insists, after questioning from Ryan, that she does, in fact, masturbate standing up. No word on whether she also discreetly covers her breasts while doing so.

Miles, on the other hand, has made a tar covered wall and a non-tar covered wall, each delicately inscribed with his feeble, twee punches. No one asks if Miles regularly punches tar walls. Beardy, who buys all his clothing a size too small, likes that it’s not literal. No, it’s completely nonsensical. Ryan, at least, recognizes that the pieces don’t really go together. I don’t understand why Jaclyn’s image, one very similar to those we see constantly in the media (OK mostly porn, but still), is praised more than Mark’s. Maybe he should have tried masturbating. Or maybe getting implants.

And yes, in the end, naked skinny white woman beats out naked man of color and girth. Actually, both Miles and Jaclyn jointly win, and why not? There’s certainly no prize to share. Mark goes home. But wait, what’s this? China is crying! She’s shedding human tears! Our little Warholbot is becoming a real girl. Awww.

“This show is ruining my career.”

brilliantmistake | 08.07.10 | Filed in Recaps,Work of Art

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