‘Work of Art’ recap: Andy Warhol, Charlie Sheen, Prop. 8 and more


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‘Work of Art’ on Bravo took a trip into pop-art territory in its latest episode, with Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Tomato Soup cans serving as a starting point for the competition. The show’s contestants were asked to create works of art that spoke in some way to today’s pop culture. To add to the pressure, Wednesday’s episode was a double-elimination round.

The episode also featured a corporate plug in the form of Entertainment Weekly managing editor Jess Cagle, who said that the winner of this round would be honored with a spread in the publication. (Given the Warhol connection, Interview magazine would have been the more appropriate media tie-in.)


Contestants took wildly different approaches to the assignment. The artist known as The Sucklord took his inspiration from Charlie Sheen’s recent public meltdown by creating vials of ‘tiger blood’ and riffing on references to ‘winning.’ Dusty created a faux McDonald’s waste bin with an environmental message (‘How could you’) emblazoned on the front.

Young Sun decided to play on the term ‘pop art’ by creating ‘Prop. 8’ art -- a reference to the controversial California measure banning same-sex marriages. His creation featured an interactive element that allowed viewers to write their own comments on the work.

Some had more difficulty finding inspiration. Jazz-Minh (her spelling, not ours) grew up on a commune and therefore had limited exposure to pop culture. Her contribution was a photographic homage to Britney Spears, bizarrely starring herself.

(Spoiler alert: stop reading now if you don’t want to know who won and who was eliminated in the second episode.) Joining the judges circle was artist Rob Pruitt, whose work is heavily influenced by Warhol and who even created a statue of the bewigged artist that is taking up residence in New York’s Union Square.

The winner of the round was Young Sun’s Prop. 8-inspired work of art -- not because it was a politically correct statement, according to judge Jerry Saltz on his post-game blog, but ‘because he took on scale, color, advertising, powerful messaging, and communication in a very direct, visually forceful way.’

The two losers were Leon, who created a chaotic collage of corporate logos and American flags, and Jazz-Minh for her baffling Britney deconstruction.



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-- David Ng