Work of Art: Season 1 Finale
“Unborn fawns, we can’t BELIEVE this piece of shit dress won last night!”
“Unborn fawns, here is an editorial featuring an actress who has a movie coming out. Let’s point out the deficiencies together.”
“The stars came out to pick up their awards last night, so let’s point out whose shoes didn’t match their bags, unborn fawns!”
We love it already.
Aw, we joke because we love. We honestly don’t mind the direct ripoff of PR. WoA Executive Producer SJP is a huge fan of the show and Bravo certainly doesn’t mind being a little formulaic in their programming. “Coming this Fall on Bravo! The Housewives of Every Major Metropolitan Area are Flipping Out Over the Next Top Chef! Wednesdays at 9, 10, and 11, then Thursdays at 1, 2, 3, 7, and 11 AM!
One senses that there were attempts to wring out some sort of drama but these three genuinely seem to like each other. Of course their reunion occurred, unlike most finale reunions, before any episodes had aired.
Before we get to the collections, we want to say that for an inaugural season, this was pretty damn good. We stayed interested and invested in the outcome each week, due to some good challenges, great casting, and colorful judging. We have issues on the latter, but we’ll get to that later. For the most part, the process left us with three of the most talented, if not THE three most talented of the contestants. We look forward to a season 2, which seems a given due to the amount of attention the show got, even toward the end of the season.
We had his win pegged a while back because that was the way the editing was going from about the midpoint. And last night he was getting a SERIOUS winner’s edit, being the only one of the three who encountered any sort of problem with his installation. But we have to admit, when his sculpture lay in pieces in the shipping box, we really thought it was all over for him.
It’s so hard to offer an opinion on art as seen through a TV screen, but all of his pieces were haunting and personal. Those floor sculptures are amazing. And there was a definite throughline, touching on all of the parts of Abdi he wants to express the most – explorations of race, of his own body, of the superhero/sports star fascinations that obviously took hold of him in his childhood and never really left him. We agreed with LaChappelle that the body bag picture, though a cliche topically speaking, was deeply affecting and beautifully done. Of course, Jerry criticized him for being “a little melodramatic and self-indulgent,” which is so self-evidently a ridiculous criticism that we’re embarrassed for him for making it. Of course an artist trying to mount a prestigious museum show is going to be a little fucking self-indulgent. Come on now! Nice to see the other judges shut down his obvious attempts to pull any sort of criticism out of his ass that he could think of.
Honestly, we couldn’t come up with a better summation of Miles’ personality and point of view if we tried. It starts off thoughtful (capturing the last images of a forgotten and ignored person) and through a combination of repetition and navel-gazing, it gets to the point where all meaning has been stripped out of it and no viewer takes anything away from it. If that had been his point, we might have applauded his genius, but he so earnestly wanted the viewer to take something away from it. To Miles, he was saying something thoughtful and interesting, but only to Miles. It was too cold and impersonal in the end. Jerry wanted so badly to give it to his boycrush. “I really like that you’re exploring death and I’m amazed that’s what you went after and you’ve found.” Remember, Abdi’s body bag was “melodramatic and self indulgent.” Even Jerry had to back off over-praising this misstep, instead offering the consolation prize of “You’re a real artist to the core.”
Which he is, no argument from us. We think he played a character and had a gameplan, but there was no denying that he’s a talent. It seems to us, however, that he’s too caught up both in his own self-image as the tortured quirky artist and in the process by which he creates, which is never as interesting to the viewer as the actual creation itself. Ultimately, you have to create something interesting. Then you can talk about the process. He’s all process.
We really thought she had it in the bag for a big part of this episode. Abdi’s work was literally falling apart, Miles’ was clearly not going to excite the judges enough and she kept unpacking one interesting piece after another. Granted, we think she lapses into the “little girl’s bedroom on acid” aesthetic just a bit too much. But we can’t deny, that picture of the unborn fawns was the best piece bar none in all three collections. Second best was the boy’s twisted head. Jerry says, he loves “the exploration of death,” with no self-awareness. But all the judges are in agreement that this was really strong work from her. We really liked a lot of the individual pieces, but we hate when she lapses into “let’s pile all the crap together!” Also, we really thought the cotton candy was gimmicky. Yes, it’s very much part of her personality and appropriate considering the themes in her work, but let’s face it. If Miles pulled a stunt like that we’d all scream “STUNT!”
Still, we really liked her collection. Of the three, it felt the most polished, which makes sense given that she’s the most experienced. We would not have been disappointed to see her win, but we ultimately think the judges chose well with Abdi.
All in all, we thought it was a pretty good finale for a pretty good first season. What did you unborn fawns think?
[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com - Photo Credit: BravoTV.com]