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'Work of Art' recap: Selling out is an art form

December 8, 2011 | 11:11 am

"Work of Art"
On Wednesday's new episode of "Work of Art" on Bravo, contestants learned all about the art of selling out, or as most people in the art world know it as, business as usual. The remaining six contestants were challenged to hit the streets -- actually a small park in upscale Tribeca -- to peddle as much original art as they could to the public. The team that earned the most money would be crowned the winner of the round and split $30,000.

Selling out seems like an apt subject for contestants on a reality competition show. (These art-world climbers need only glance in the mirror to learn what selling out really looks like.) But viewers hoping for some display of self-awareness were no doubt disappointed as the contestants went about their tasks with literal-minded efficiency.

Young and Sara paired up to create a line of underwear embellished with jokey illustrations. Lola worked with Sarah on prints in which the former stripped naked. Lola later decided to sell whispered "secrets" along with her racy prints, while Sarah came up a rather childish set of Indian headdress decor. Dusty and Kymia teamed up to create T-shirts that commented on surveillance.

The rather uninspired nature of the projects was partly due to the episode's compressed time frame: Contestants only had five hours in which to buy their materials and create their works of art. Much of the episode was devoted to showing the six of them hawking their wares on the street. Later, they created display versions of their commercial projects to hang on a gallery wall.

(Spoiler alert: Stop reading now if you don't want to know who won and who was eliminated in the  episode.)

Sarah, whose prosaic head decor had the judges shaking their heads in disappointment, received the boot in this round. Dusty came close to being eliminated with his facile T-shirts depicting totalitarian camera surveillance.

The winning team was Young and Sara, who raked in more than $400. But it was Sara rather than Young who was to thank for the monetary windfall for her portraits of passersby.

Judges seemed the most impressed with Lola's nude prints, congratulating her on taking such a risk. Lola, who comes from L.A., has come close to elimination a number of times and she remarked that she would have won the round had it been judged on artistic merit alone. Next time, Lola.

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-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from the most recent episode of "Work of Art." Credit: Bravo

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