Last week, Erik, aka Mr. Chip on His Shoulder/Mr. I Never Went to Art School got sent home after a largely unsuccessful team challenge. Apparently, all of the artists are immediately missing Erik the morning after his ouster….all except for Miles, who seems pretty happy about the whole situation. Everybody’s still on edge from all the bickering of the last challenge, so they head to the roof, presumably to toss someone over.
Simon arrives to take the artists on a little field trip to what he says is a great museum for Contemporary Art. You’d think it might be the Brooklyn Museum, but you’d wrong…or at least I was. Instead, Simon takes them to the Children’s Museum of Art. Their challenge this week is to return to what first inspired them to become artists and create a work of art based on that experience. They can only use materials found in the museum, which means things like pipe cleaners, tempera paints and popsicle sticks. The artists will be working on their projects at the museum for the first day and will complete work the next day back at the studio.
The judges this week are China Chow, Bill Powers, Jerry Saltz and Painter Will Cotton. The winner of this week’s challenge will not get immunity.
Miles – A Complete Roll of Duct Tape Over A 4'x6' Plane, Accompanied by 3 Rubber Band Balls
Upon hearing about this week’s challenge, Miles announces that he feels like he’s going to throw up and sneeze at the same time. His hygiene is getting worse and worse as the season continues. Miles decides that the key here is to make the challenge work for him. He goes back to some geometric work he did a few months ago when he was super depressed….as opposed to how chipper he is now? During a brief break in a ball pit – the kind with big rubber balls, not those little hard, plastic ones – he and Nicole giggle at each other and Miles muses about how wonderful and candy-coated a date with Nicole would be. *gag* Miles explains that his work is a geometric pattern using an entire roll of duct tape. It really has nothing to do with his childhood memories and he admits he doesn’t know that he is an artist yet. Mark notes that Miles has made the same piece before and tells us he thinks that’s cheating. In an attempt to add more color and fun to his piece, Miles starts making balls out of rubber bands. Ryan tells us that Miles is a douchebag
Mark - Origin Issue
Mark tells us about his upbringing in a tough neighborhood where people often had to walk a whole 8 or 10 blocks to work. Without knowing anything else about Mark, you KNOW he’s a Californian. In New York, living 8 or 10 blocks from work is probably a dream come true. There weren’t any art supplies either: he actually used his mom’s Wite-Out instead of white paint. Isn’t paint a lot cheaper than correction fluid? Just sayin’. Mark creates a children’s book showing the things that inspired him as a kid. His work, along with Miles’ duct tape concoction, doesn’t overly impress the judges, but there are three people whose work the judges like even less this week.
Nicole - Surfacing Memories – TOP 2
Nicole tells us about her twin sister (yes, guys, there are two of them!) and how her father urged them to explore their artistic sides. Her project will be focusing on specific childhood memories. Because she seems incapable of creating anything without the use of large power tools, Nicole is a bit frustrated by the tools she has to work with. “Why can’t kids have knives?” she wonders. Simon seems impressed with Nicole’s work – a collection of Styrofoam trays containing various items reminding her of events in her childhood - and the fact that she didn’t take the challenge literally like some of the others did. The judges are all pretty happy about her piece. China notes that it’s clear the work is deeply personal to her.
Peregrine – Rainbow - WINNER
Peregrine tells us about her childhood living in an art commune in San Francisco. With a name like Peregrine, you knew there had to be a story like this. She talks about drugs and freedom of expression and exposure to sex and, honestly, she makes it sound more like she was sold into prostitution. Part of her project involves ads for prostitution. I rest my case. Simon approves of Peregrine’s work and urges her to go for it. She says her piece is an homage to people she’s known who died of AIDS. Bill Powers is particularly affected by the combination of drugs and candy placed together. Will Cotton tells Peregrine that this is a work of art that he wishes he had made. That probably takes the sting out of not getting immunity.
Abdi – Straight Line – BOTTOM 3
Abdi tells us that he has almost no relationship with his father: his mom raised him on her own from the time he was very young. Abdi explains to Simon that drawing was what he did as a child and is then alarmed when Simon says the project feels like something Abdi might have done when he was 11 or 12 years old. Abdi takes Simon’s criticisms to heart and revamps his piece. He will do a set a drawings based on the things people used to ask him to draw for them when he was in school. Jerry Saltz says the work show nothing of Abdi. China calls the piece conceptually and visually bland.
Jaclyn – Untitled – BOTTOM 3
Jaclyn doesn’t quite know what to do with this project, probably because it’s unlikely she can get by with flashing her naughty bits. Jaclyn admits it’s hard to think about her childhood. She claims she spent lots of her lonely childhood eating her lunch in a bathroom stall. Jaclyn didn’t have a great childhood, but she used art as a way to communicate. When she was a child, Jaclyn liked creating abstract images with paint and that’s the direction she’s going with her project. Simon isn’t terribly impressed, so Jaclyn decides that bringing in her love of tree climbing as a kid is a good idea. Miles notes that her piece is very cold. The judges find Jaclyn’s explanation of the work intriguing, but none of them see how it translates in the piece.
Ryan – Drawn Excavations - ELIMINATED
Ryan picks this episode to reveal that he was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and is now completely alienated from his family. As Ryan begins working on his piece, old memories start coming to the surface. He clearly has a lot of unfinished business related to his mother, who he says doesn’t respect his choices. Ryan explains to Simon that he’s drawing with his left hand to simulate what he would have drawn as a child. Simon = non-plussed. Ryan then decides that ripping up some of the drawings will add dimension to his work. He’d clearly emotionally overwrought because of all the childhood memories that have come up as a result of this challenge. It really seems like the process was more important for Ryan than the actual finished project and that’s kind of a problem, since the judges are actually looking at the finished work. Ultimately, a surprised Ryan is sent home. I was completely unsurprised because there had to be a reason Ryan was getting more screen time in this episode than he had in the entire previous 6 episodes. Alas, poor Ryan, we hardly knew ye.
Next week, the artists will be working in teams and, once again, Jaclyn plays to her strengths and gets naked. How original.