Bravo's 'Work of Art' -- reality TV or glorified Audi commercial?
If there was any pretentious name dropping to be heard in the latest episode of Bravo's "Work of Art," it didn't involve references to Van Gogh or Picasso or Warhol or Koons. The only high-toned name consistently spoken last evening was that of German car maker Audi.
The luxury automobile brand took the spotlight on Wednesday's installment of the the art-themed reality show. Auctioneer-host Simon de Pury woke the contestants at the crack of dawn so that they could drive themselves in a fleet of Audis to the car maker's Park Avenue showroom.
The challenge this week was to create art inspired by their vehicular journey through Manhattan and their visit to Audi's ultra-modern car-porn display.
Such prominent product placement seemed jarring for a show that has touted the power of the artistic spirit. The fact that none of the contestants questioned or remarked on Audi's presence made the marriage of art and corporate marketing even more awkward.
Faced with a relatively open-ended assignment, the contestants took a variety of different approaches. Jaclyn, whose good looks have been remarked on in past episodes, was inspired by the stares she received from passersby while standing in the Audi showroom and created an unconventional photo montage on the act of voyeurism.
Mark took inspiration from the streets of Manhattan to create an abstract painting filled with right angles and grid-like boxes. Erik decided to create a portrait of his girlfriend with visual references to the city thrown in the background.
Ryan appeared to have the most difficulty finding inspiration and ultimately settled on yet another self-portrait, this one depicting him sitting in the driver's seat of a car. "Are you narcissistic?" De Pury asked him jokingly during a studio visit.
The cameras spent some time ogling Miles and Nicole, who appeared to be in the nascent stages of a romance. The two contestants spent time complimenting each other and helping one other with their projects. With their matching shabby-chic outfits and downtown haircuts, their friendship is shaping up as a love affair made in Alphabet City heaven. (Or Urban Outfitters heaven, according to one contestant.)
Erik emerged as the series' resident grouch, taking time to complain about his competitors. In last week's episode, he accused Jaclyn of taking credit for one of his ideas. This week, he criticized Miles as being a two-faced actor who manipulates his fellow contestants.
This week's winner will receive immunity in next week's challenge. (Spoilers ahead.)
Judges selected Jaclyn's offbeat photo montage as this week's victor. The work featured photos that the artist took of male passersby staring at her. Jaclyn covered their faces with blasts from paintballs and then arranged them in combination with a mirror so that observers could complete the work with their own voyeuristic gazes.
The runner-up was Miles' mixed-media installation that served as an oasis of meditation away from the New York's hectic .
Going home was Jaime Lynn, whose creation that featured dancing portraits of herself arranged around a pseudo-hubcap failed to impress the judges. Jaime Lynn, who often talks about her Christian faith, had poor showings in past episodes. Other bottom-rankers this week were Ryan's self-portrait and Mark's abstract grid painting.
Next week's episode appears to tackle public art, with contestants asked to fill a public space with an original creation.
-- David Ng
Photo: Jaclyn, in front of her creation. Credit: Bravo
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