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Work of Art: Episode 3, Bite Me

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While unable to get much beyond Simon's Pop definition, "Pop is sex, Pop is brash, Pop is fun," this episode, "Make It Pop," was loads of fun to watch--from the kids in the studio trying their best to define Pop, to the process of making, to teasing banter between Sucklord and Lola. My nine-year-old daughter is (inappropriately, yet innocently) parroting Sucklord's line about his many 'sex adventures,' while I laugh at the show's ultimate prurience. The most we really see is the suggestion of a topless photo shoot, and a bit of innocent flirtation- but it's enough of a reality TV sub plot.

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While 60's Pop art has a distinctive style, its inheritors apply it variously, from the highly polished Celebration sculptures of Jeff Koons, to the hand blotted, blemished and grunge bullet holes of Nate Lowman. For this challenge, Rob Pruitt was the perfect guest judge and Pop spokesman. He is a Warhol caretaker- just set your eyes on his Warhol monument for the Public Art Fund. More, he easily riffs on Pop, with a Minimalist slur and contemporary edge, whether giving out art awards, collecting signatures, painting Pandas or serially screen-printing Cinnabons.

A hippie by birth, Jazz-Minh worried that she could not do Pop. Too bad she did not know Rob's work, or Richard Prince's signature Hippie Punk. Jazz-Minh defined the accidental white splatter from Sucklord as "hippie cool." Yet she went no further, and China nailed her.

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When it came to the judging- I was stumped. When China elegantly asked her fellow judges if they had made their decisions, they uniformly agreed. Yet, as onlooker, I did not concur. Did Young really freshen up Pop by making it political? How about the famous AIDS advertisement of the 80's? Entertainment Weekly magazine got a non-confrontational spread with a splash of color.

Of the two, my vote went to Kymia—while not specifically Pop in look, her advertisement about advertisement was Pop in attitude. I would have kicked off Dusty, with his minimalist, neutral work. I'm sure he was a sweet addition to the ensemble cast, but his corn-fed subject matter had little edge. In the end, I asked: has Pop Art really been reduced to an advertisement?