Work of Art Bickering Begins

by Paddy Johnson on June 14, 2010 · 26 comments WANGA

art fag city, work of art, erik johnson, Mark velasquez
Work of art contestants Mark Velasquez and Erik Johnson

Clown portrait artist Erik Johnson just can’t cut a break and neither can his Work of Art competitor artist and curator Trong Nguyen. Last week we called poor sportsmanship on Nguyen after we read that he’d seeded the idea to Johnson that he should present his work on an easel. This was clearly a very bad idea. From Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn’s Bravo blog,

Upon asking Erik what he was thinking with this easel, he said that it was Trong’s idea to keep the painting on the pedestal. After a few harsh words, Erik’s first lesson was learned – do not allow a fellow contestant to make such crucial decisions.

According to both Nguyen and Johnson though, this was only one of many options Nguyen threw out, and it was also the one he tried most ardently to dissuade Johnson from following. Rohatyn makes it sound like Nguyen encouraged the presentation choice, which was not the case. Johnson wrote me Friday to clarify the matter, complaining that he was getting flack from his colleagues for allowing Nguyen to take the fall.

  • Sean

    That is so sweet of Erik! What a good sport.

  • Sean

    That is so sweet of Erik! What a good sport.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse P. Martin

    Clearly it was the inclusion of the easel that made this a bad work of art. And thank goodness that Rohatyn is keeping a blog to inform us of that, and that you’ve got a direct line to the artist himself to provide some much-needed context to this miscarriage of justice.

    Mind. Numbing. Redundancies. Like a painting of a “funny” artist as a clown on a palette on an easel with the represented artist leaning on the painting with a clown nose on. OMFG. OMFG.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse P. Martin

    Clearly it was the inclusion of the easel that made this a bad work of art. And thank goodness that Rohatyn is keeping a blog to inform us of that, and that you’ve got a direct line to the artist himself to provide some much-needed context to this miscarriage of justice.

    Mind. Numbing. Redundancies. Like a painting of a “funny” artist as a clown on a palette on an easel with the represented artist leaning on the painting with a clown nose on. OMFG. OMFG.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse P. Martin

    Clearly it was the inclusion of the easel that made this a bad work of art. And thank goodness that Rohatyn is keeping a blog to inform us of that, and that you’ve got a direct line to the artist himself to provide some much-needed context to this miscarriage of justice.

    Mind. Numbing. Redundancies. Like a painting of a “funny” artist as a clown on a palette on an easel with the represented artist leaning on the painting with a clown nose on. OMFG. OMFG.

  • Piper

    How fast is this show going to be the one we love/hate to watch–like an education on what NOT to do in the “art world”?

  • Piper

    How fast is this show going to be the one we love/hate to watch–like an education on what NOT to do in the “art world”?

  • http://www.patrickcollier.com Patrick

    It’s only a production. It’s only a production. It’s only a production. The blog, the editing, the cameras in the studio, the words that come out of the artists’ and critics’ mouths, all designed to one end: entertainment. Not education. A semblance of reality. A blend of aromatic spices and cured meats served on Chinette, eaten with a plastic knife and fork; and when finished, there’s a greasy likeness of the Madonna soaked into the plate.

  • http://www.patrickcollier.com Patrick

    It’s only a production. It’s only a production. It’s only a production. The blog, the editing, the cameras in the studio, the words that come out of the artists’ and critics’ mouths, all designed to one end: entertainment. Not education. A semblance of reality. A blend of aromatic spices and cured meats served on Chinette, eaten with a plastic knife and fork; and when finished, there’s a greasy likeness of the Madonna soaked into the plate.

  • http://www.judithannbraun.com Judith Braun

    Well, this sort of who really said what is a great start…so we can all just assume now that there will be plenty of that and not take it too literally or seriously. I’m glad that AFC helped get us over this hump.

  • http://www.judithannbraun.com Judith Braun

    Well, this sort of who really said what is a great start…so we can all just assume now that there will be plenty of that and not take it too literally or seriously. I’m glad that AFC helped get us over this hump.

  • http://www.judithannbraun.com Judith Braun

    Well, this sort of who really said what is a great start…so we can all just assume now that there will be plenty of that and not take it too literally or seriously. I’m glad that AFC helped get us over this hump.

  • Adam

    This show consists of a bunch of fucking idiots. Pure and simple. What a bad, bad, bad, horrendous, stupid fucking idea.

  • Adam

    This show consists of a bunch of fucking idiots. Pure and simple. What a bad, bad, bad, horrendous, stupid fucking idea.

  • Adam

    This show consists of a bunch of fucking idiots. Pure and simple. What a bad, bad, bad, horrendous, stupid fucking idea.

  • Adam

    P.S.

    This show makes artists everywhere look like complete tools.

    Great job Sarah Jessica Parker.

  • Adam

    P.S.

    This show makes artists everywhere look like complete tools.

    Great job Sarah Jessica Parker.

  • Adam

    P.S.

    This show makes artists everywhere look like complete tools.

    Great job Sarah Jessica Parker.

  • Piper

    Ok, fine. Not an education. A distraction.

  • Piper

    Ok, fine. Not an education. A distraction.

  • Piper

    Ok, fine. Not an education. A distraction.

  • http://www.daingore.com/ Dain Q Gore

    As an art grad school grad, it will be cathartic to see the artists make the same mistakes that I made during my schooling. It’s really, truly tough to get it all right all of the time for all of the critics, and yet stay true to yourself, whatever that may mean!

    This reminds me of virtually all of the drama (what little there was) I experienced: it was almost always due to miscommunication of intent or second-hand messages.

    Say your right words, says I!

  • http://www.daingore.com/ Dain Q Gore

    As an art grad school grad, it will be cathartic to see the artists make the same mistakes that I made during my schooling. It’s really, truly tough to get it all right all of the time for all of the critics, and yet stay true to yourself, whatever that may mean!

    This reminds me of virtually all of the drama (what little there was) I experienced: it was almost always due to miscommunication of intent or second-hand messages.

    Say your right words, says I!

  • http://www.daingore.com/ Dain Q Gore

    As an art grad school grad, it will be cathartic to see the artists make the same mistakes that I made during my schooling. It’s really, truly tough to get it all right all of the time for all of the critics, and yet stay true to yourself, whatever that may mean!

    This reminds me of virtually all of the drama (what little there was) I experienced: it was almost always due to miscommunication of intent or second-hand messages.

    Say your right words, says I!

  • Chad N. Freud

    Si-mu-la-crum.

    This show is the quintessence thereof. Reality? Laugh until the cows come home and fly over the moon, and then paint drecktastic clown paintings on palettes and display them on easels. At least the cows would be worthy of not being cuffed across the ears for such tripe.

    Baudrillard, turn over in thy grave no more.

  • Chad N. Freud

    Si-mu-la-crum.

    This show is the quintessence thereof. Reality? Laugh until the cows come home and fly over the moon, and then paint drecktastic clown paintings on palettes and display them on easels. At least the cows would be worthy of not being cuffed across the ears for such tripe.

    Baudrillard, turn over in thy grave no more.

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