'Work of Art': And the winner is ...


I'm not going to lie, I have really been remiss about recapping Work of Art, and I feel bad about this, especially with so many Baltimore people in it, including Abdi Farah, a Baltimore native who made it to tonight's finale. Check out an interview The Sun's Chris Kaltenbach did with Abdi last week in advance of the finale here.

But the Gods of Reality TV Scheduling all had a collective love affair with Wednesday this summer, and everything just stacked up.

So my apologies.

It's been a fun season, and the finale is no exception.

As in Project Runway, the three finalists go home and work on a collection for several weeks before the last competition. As well, the mentor, in this case Simon de Pury, visits each finalists at home to get a peek at what their working on.

Once they all return to New York, they meet up, and Simon tells them he has a surprise. In true Project Runway fashion, they believe they are going to have to add a piece to their collections, but whew, no, he just wants them to know that the winner is going to have a piece auctioned off. 

Miles goes in an interesting direction with his collection -- he takes cell phone photos and videos of elderly people who eat frequently at a White Castle by his house. This includes a triptych that he made of a man who ended up freezing to death two days later. He also manipulates the photos in an old version of PhotoShop and creates these giant abstract prints. But (as the judges later point out) it's kind of hard to tell what you are looking at and what you're supposed to feel. It's a little cold.

Peregrine makes a collection set in a country fair type of atmosphere -- everything is very whimsical. She's created beeswax casts of various toys, and there are lots of frames, and there is a photograph of a model of unborn twin deer (less horrifying than it sounds) and a cotton candy maker. It's a lot to take in, but she's truly created an atmosphere and some gorgeous pieces.

Abdi has created two sculptures of figures lying on the floor that are athletes stretching (that's just one interpretation), but they have a lot of life. There are several other works, including an upside-down self portrait that's painted in the opposite colors (his skin a bright blue, his hair white) of their real counterparts, and a hyper-realistic painting called "Home" that depicts a body in a garbage bag. 

At the crit, the judges tell a tearful Miles that he is extremely talented, but unfortunately, his collection felt like a work in progress. He is out.

They like the world Peregrine has created but believe she could have edited it down some for more impact. She is out, too.

Abdi is the winner! They say he's shown a remarkable amount of heart and growth, and they're just so proud of him. Judge Jerry Saltz tells Abdi he's been trying to get rid of him for episodes (in case you weren't totally sure, check out his blog entries), but he's persevered. 

So Abdi's the winner of the $100,000 prize, which he says will go directly to his mother, and an exhibit at the Brooklyn Art Museum.  

After the announcement, guest judge Dave LaChappelle announces, "The art world needs artists like you. ...  There's like a renaissance going on inside you, seriously"

Then he's looking for his mom, "like Rocky looking for Adrian. ... The victory is as much her as it is mine."

Very sweet.

What do you think about the results? 

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