Abdi Farah, 22, The Untitled Art Project Applicant. AFC nominee for Best “Candid” Picture.
With a winning smile like that, how could Bravo not cast Abdi Farah in their upcoming reality series, The Untitled Art Project? Artinfo‘s Sarah Douglas provides the best coverage of Bravo’s weekend casting call we’ve seen yet, asking 13 applicants questions about the art world and the show. For reader convenience we’ve distilled our favorite answers, with commentary, below.
Why are you applying to be on this show?
Best answer: Trey Speegle, 49
I live two blocks away. I had no excuse not to.
In addition to Speegle’s very practical response, we also liked the popular “recession” answer. Will reality television become an industry similar to that of education: something people find more desirable when there are no jobs?
What’s the most scandalous thing you’ve done as an artist?
At a festival in Marfa, Texas, I did a performance where I walked out into the crowd buck naked and other artists shrink-wrapped me to a pole. These two young girls came up and were giggling and took lipstick and drew stigmata on my feet. I thought, “This is Texas, I’m not sure how cool that is.” They were turning this thing into a statement I’m not sure I wanted to make.
But you couldn’t do anything about it. You were shrink-wrapped!
Later on a woman came up and was shocked and angry. She said, “Did you do that?” And I said, “No, I didn’t.” She said, “Do you want it there?” I said, “Not really.” She said, “Do you want me to get rid of it for you?” I said, “If you want.”
You had no choice, being shrink-wrapped.
Couldn’t do anything. So she digs in her purse, gets a tissue out, pours some of her bottled water onto it, and tries to rub it off, but the water and the oil in the lipstick didn't mix, so she just labored over washing my feet and smeared the lipstick all over. I got really uncomfortable, realizing the religious symbolism of it.
What is cliché in the art world?
Best answer: Dominika Ksel, 28
Nepotism. I’m tired of really bad artists making it big. The central focus of collectors is specific artists who really aren’t that talented or interesting, but because they’re related to other well-known artists or collectors or philanthropists or big businesspeople, they end up making it big. It’s annoying because there are a lot of broke artists out there who are really talented. The wealth should be spread more.
Ksel generalizes a bit, but we like her attitude.
How would you describe your art?
Best answer: Greg Walker, 29
Speaking of “clichés in the art world.”
Does TV make you nervous?
Best answer: Mari Jae Benning, 28
Yes, mostly just the idea of having to produce art on command.
Quite frankly, we’re a little worried about what the results will be too, given these constraints.
Who's the most overrated artist?
Best answer: Meghan Snow, 26
Dana Shutz. I've seen so much of her work go to auction. Nothing's changed. It's still the same.
We don’t actually agree with this answer (Shutz’s work does have a distinctive look, but it’s changed quite a bit over the years). It is interesting, though, to see an artist in her early thirties at the stage in her career where she can be thought of as overrated.