So last night’s episode was hitting pretty close to home as the artists were challenged to work in groups (which I know a lot about), and to create a public work of art (which I am writing my thesis on currently). Which means this episode had a perfect storm of fury-inducing BS mixed with artists disappointing me and the occasional ok-Ill-give-you-that laughter fit on my couch.
Of course, the artists were forced to work in groups. Which if you have worked in a group before, you know it is just barely tolerable even when you have great teammates, and is second in mental anguish only to having that awkward, first, sex talk with your parents. You want nothing to do with either of those situations. But alas, sometimes you just have to suck it up and geet-er-done.
The public art installation was an interesting idea since the tenants of public art are drastically different than that of traditional art. When you create a work spontaneously, you expect to exhibit it in a gallery setting of some sort – and as such the ideas behind the work are not affected by it’s surroundings. Public art on the other hand is created site specific. Meaning, you must first find the place where you want to have a work, evaluate what the space can offer an art piece, and what a piece can offer the space, how can it be used publicly and how will it benefit the surrounding area.
In essence, it takes not just artistic prowess, but often times landscape and architectural understanding as well. Something, I dare day, most of these people do not have. But let’s not let limited technical ability and a lack of mental acuity stop these crazy kids from trying!
Group Blue ended up doing something reminiscent of the public art of the sixties (or if you live in PorterSquare in Cambridge, MA, that weird area in the parking lot with the random boulder things and racing stripes). Super minimalist quadrilateral boxes – or as Tits McGee says “clawdralaterals” – but it seemed to at least bring people into the space. While the oddly shaped monochromatic pieces were kind of scattered about, people seemed drawn to them, and the group noted that the audience should walk into the piece, climb on it, move around it and lay on the large one to finally look up into the New York sky, rather than seeing a skyline. Which, Ill give it to them, engaging the audience with the sky in NYC is tough, but they did it. Even if their end result was boring and cold.
Group Red on the other hand was hilariously cruel to eachother and ended up making a work that would inevitably contribute to many broken ankles and splinters. Miles was blazingly called out, many times, as a ‘tortured artist’ and ‘a total douche’ by Erik, and while I had hoped Erik would end up being the hero in the end, he turned out to be an asshole. Like, a big, whining, asshole. Bitching about his ideas being shot down. Bitching about the group not wanting to work with him (even though he specifically told them not to ask for his help because he doesn’t like them). Bitching that the elevator was acting weird. Bitching that he has confidence issues (which he does) And then, at the end, insulting his group mate (Tits) in front of the judges citing a note he found of hers that seemed to imply she wanted to help him get his ideas in…and his response was “…I don’t think she’s smart enough” to write a secret note to help him. Whether or not it is true doesn’t matter – don’t be fucking rude.
Que the Next Top Model style “I AIN’T HERE TO MAKE FRIENDS!”…and que his ass getting kicked off the show. Sorry Erik, but your work didn’t work for them.
This show was an important lesson on a few fronts. One: group projects are the devil’s work and no one should be subjected to them. Two: public art still gets shit on because, as the guest judge noted “people can’t just shut up and agree on something” – like me! And three: ignorance is bliss – Group Red failed to recognize their ‘preferred view while sitting in their work’ was not just an empty space in the New York skyline, but where the Twin Towers used to reside. Way to be on your game kids!