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'Work of Art' recap: Taking inspiration from parkour

October 20, 2011 | 12:54 pm


"Work of Art" on Bravo began its second episode of the season by rousing its contestants out of bed at the crack of dawn and marching them to a public park to watch an impromptu performance of parkour — the French sport of urban acrobatics that involves scaling walls, leaping from buildings and tumbling across rooftops.

For their weekly challenge, contestants were asked to take inspiration from parkour by creating art that involves some kind of motion. The cast was divided into two teams to create dueling group shows.

But the competition got off to a bad start — so bad, in fact, that Simon de Pury, the debonair auction-house overlord who serves as the show's mentor, ordered everyone at the halfway point to start from scratch. (Up to that point, one team had chosen "poop" as its central motif, while the other had chosen the idea of "migration.")

In the end, the two teams settled on more prosaic themes for their shows: "Play With Me," a show that uses the playground as its inspiration, though some of the works were strangely sexual in nature; and "Loop," which investigates notions of — well, who knows what.

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

The judges clearly were disappointed by the results. For the best work of art — or maybe the least awful — they chose the video created by Bayeté, the New York artist, who captured himself spinning in circles. But the true showstopper was the episode's loser, Kathryn, who let loose a flood of tears. Kathryn, whose arms are covered in tattoos, had revealed earlier in the episode that she suffers from Crohn's disease, prompting host China Chow to ask if the tears were the result of her illness or losing. A little of both, it turns out.

Parkour, Crohn's disease, endless loops ... "Work of Art" has it all.


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— David Ng

Photo: A scene of parkour artists at work in "Work of Art." Credit: Bravo