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Abdi, don't hide. You won! And somehow Peregrine took second and Miles was third.

By Gina Carbone

Awesome! Abdi Farah definitely deserved to win season 1 of Bravo’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.”

I admit, I was on Team Miles Mendenhall at the start of the season, but Abdi won me over with his quiet, consistent talent and positive attitude.

Abdi's I.E.D. piece on "A Shock to the System" was one of my favorites of the season. He's the only one who made a lasting, meaningful work of art from this challenge. Everyone else just went for cheap sex, as if that's "shocking."

Miles is the prototypical art school kid. Having said that, his work was always more interesting and exciting than anything Peregrine Honig did.

The finale should’ve come down to Miles and Abdi. But at least the right artist won.

***Stream of Consciousness Recap***

The final three get three months and $5,000 to put on a show? Really? $5,000? Did I hear that right? I did. Wow.

Adorable mentor Simon de Pury visits the finalists, just like Tim Gunn on “Project Runway.”

Peregrine’s husband is a jazz musician and horn sculptor. They have a really cool place in Kansas City. She went with a carnival theme for her show. Simon loves her drawings of people vomiting. That’s my problem with this show in a nutshell. People vomiting is seen as impressive.

Abdi’s mom meets Simon at their home in Dover, Pa. I thought he was from Baltimore. No? He said she pushed him like a stage mother. He has a nice space to work in, too. No Christian Siriano closets so far. He was inspired by his last winning piece, the nature challenge. Simon was not dazzled by Abdi’s work. Simon said his technical prowess is his strength and weakness.

There’s snow on the ground in Minneapolis when Simon visits Miles. Everyone on this show has nice big spaces to work in. Whatever happened to the classic starving artist? He grew up making death traps for animals. And last week he wanted to make mustard gas. THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND ABOUT MILES. Just sayin’. Something about a homeless man freezing to death in front of White Castle. Now that homeless man is part of Miles’ art?

Simon likes what Miles is doing so far. So is this a red herring? Simon meets Miles’ parents. It’s like they’re dating on “The Bachelorette.” His family is so white middle-class suburbia. His parents are music teachers. Simon kisses his mother’s hand. I love Simon.

I still think Abdi should've won the first challenge for this arresting portrait of fellow contestant Ryan. Maybe if he had captured Ryan's crazy laugh he would've won.

Back in New York together, Abdi gushes about how much he loves Miles and Peregrine. This is not like “Project Runway” anymore. Usually at this point they are trash-talking.

Ha! Miles said after Simon left his house his mom ragged on him about how poorly he dressed. I bet his mom also ragged on his dad about not kissing her hand every day.

Miles has never been to the Brooklyn Museum, but every time it’s brought up Abdi and Peregrine go nuts. So Miles is above this, too. I used to love him.

Never loved China Chow. Or any of the judges.

Ha! China is excited to see what they made. Miles is excited to see what she’s going to wear. Miles calls her “double whoa.” Nicole is going to be jealous. China looks like a tiny purple version of Big Bird. Little Bird, maybe.

One work from the winning artist will be included in Simon’s art auction house Phillips de Pury & Company.

How is it that these three get along so well? Miles loves Peregrine’s stuff. Peregrine thinks Miles’ stuff is a little too obscure.

Elderly White Castle patrons? Really? Did he get their permission or does that not matter?

Is Miles chewing on cotton candy during the show? OK, a lot of people are.

Ryan is back!

Sarah Jessica Parker is in the house! She’s the executive producer of the show. She seems to be drinking the Miles Kool-Aid too.

“Do you see the face of Jesus?” “No.”

“It looks like art, but what is he saying?”

Peregrine’s stuff continues to do nothing for me.

Except for the cotton candy. That’s her best thing.

“I think they’re all vomiting.” Yes. Me too.

Abdi has sculptures on the floor. Humanity has been covered up in so many ways.

“Makes you want to cry.” “It’s really moving.”

SJP is really so proud … of what? She doesn’t seem to complete the thought.

Abdi’s mom is very proud of him, though!

A conceptualist, feminist and someone taking on issues of race? Are those their boxes? Just because Peregrine is a woman and Abdi is black?

Cell phone video camera photos of an alcoholic homeless man who died. Seriously.

David L. seems to love it. The judges are gushing.

Here's Peregrine's fawns image. It is eerie, but striking. It has impact. If art can be analyzed at all it's for sincere emotional impact as opposed to "look at me!" shock value. Definitely her strongest piece in the finale, but I still don't think she earned her shot to be there. Also, lose the vomiting chicks. And that horse's "energy" did nothing for me.

Why would Abdi’s work be about Haiti? “It kept shifting my mind. … it’s like a film, the narrative kept changing.” Bill Powers thought it was “art school”? This guy annoys me.

Taxidermied unborn twin fawns???

That’s Peregrine. Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn’s feels the love from it.

Upon reflection, this is the most memorable piece in the show and it definitely makes me want to look again, and look closer. It has a haunting power. But the rest of her work leaves me empty.

The judges are gushing again. Uh oh. I’m worried. But Powers thinks Peregrine could’ve edited her work. Thank you for mentioning the people vomiting as a not-so-great thing.

Jerry Saltz, possibly my least favorite judge, says Miles has grown enormously. They are more pretentious than the artist/contestants, by far. Why has Saltz wanted Abdi out of the show for so long?

OH MY GOD, Saltz calls Abdi dramatic and self-indulgent? Have you met Miles yet?

Peregrine. Ha! “And look at that horse. That horse has a lot of energy coming off of it.” Please.

Miles is third place? Wow. That I did not see coming. Peregrine had better not win…

THANK YOU! Abdi wins. But Peregrine shouldn’t have been in the finale at all, never mind second.

Now Abdi gets a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and a cash prize of $100,000. Did Abdi and Peregrine take first and second because they gushed more about the prizes and the guest artists and seemed more into the whole thing than Miles? Miles has always appeared to be above everything.

Man, this show has a lot of issues. But I like it. I hope they find 14 (or more) fantastic artists for season 2. Make it work!

Abdi, I hope it comes down to you and Miles — with you beating Miles.

By Gina Carbone

OK, so I no longer love Miles Mendenhall.

I’m sick of how he spends half of each episode of Bravo’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” either taking a nap or constructing some kind of mini fort that has less to do with art than his own OCD. A “fungus study”? Maybe he should’ve just gone with the mustard gas.

Simon and Miles. Both cute. Sorry, but Miles can be cute and annoying at the same time.

Yes, he’s pretentious. Over it.

I miss Ryan Shultz’s laugh. I think he (and Mark Velasquez) should’ve been able to stick around longer than Peregrine Honig, whose outfits are more interesting than her work.

Jaclyn Santos? I give her credit. She’s a chicken salad out of chicken sh-t type and as Abdi Farah noted, that’s the mark of a true artist. It didn’t quite work this time and maybe that’s because she was denied the pleasure of photographing herself nude again. In the bathroom.

No, this week the mostly-naked profile baton was passed to my boy Abdi. I thought he should’ve won the first challenge of season 1 and even though the judges have given him crap in the past two weeks I believe the criticism was only because they actually see some talent in this kid as opposed to “characters” looking for more “look at me!” camera time on a TV show. (*cough*Miles*cough*)

So the August 11 finale is down to Abdi, his buddy Miles and … somehow … Peregrine. I’m surprised that Miles’ #1 crush, Nicole Nadeau, was let go.

At 22, Abdi is the youngest of the three (Miles is 23 and Peregrine is 32) and he also has a great positive attitude and he seems to love zesty mentor Simon de Pury as much as I do.

Peregrine finds a colorful kindred spirit.

I really like this show. I do. I think it could use about 150 percent more actual ART and a fewer long-winded explanations of why what we’re looking at has no redeeming value.

But I love that this show exists. And maybe now that it’s winding down they’ll cast the second season with more talented artists. That’s usually how it works — the first season is the intro and things come to life after season 2.

Not that we weren’t given a great example in Abdi. He definitely has a bright future and I hope it starts with $100,000, a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and the title of “The Next Great Artist.”

*Update*: Yep, Abdi won! ‘Work of Art’ finale recap: Abdi is the ‘Next Great Artist’! But Peregrine is second over Miles?

There's my boy Miles sitting in the front. Everyone else is distractingly boring. OK, maybe not Abdi.

By Gina Carbone

Thank God. I finally have something to watch.

I get feverish when “Project Runway” is off season. True, True Blood” is fulfilling my camp needs. And I’m pathetic in my obsession with “The Bachelorette.” But it’s pure junk food.

I need something that mixes junk food camp with inspiring creative vision. In short, I need “Project Runway.” Or so I thought.

Turns out I just needed “Work of Art,” which is not just reminiscent of “Project Runway” it is “Project Runway,” just with artists. AKA The Only Group Of People Crazier And More Pretentious Than Designers.

Perfect. Obvious. About Flipping Time.

Abdi shows off his portrait of Ryan. I wish this had won last week.

I love this show. I also know nothing about art. Not a problem since I know even less about fashion. (Yes, I’m the girl buying clothes at Walmart. Sorry.) But I know plenty about drama and I say bravo to Bravo for finding a banner PR replacement. (Suck it, Lifetime.)

“Work of Art” has 14 quirky contestants/characters who make hilarious bitchy comments to the camera, just like PR. It has China Chow as the Heidi Klum equivalent and cute foreign Simon de Pury as the cute  Tim Gunn mentor. It even has people announcing how much time is left and telling the camera that everyone is “running around” and scrambling.

That’s PR. And “Top Chef,” but still … this is better than “Top Chef.” You can’t taste food on TV. You can’t even smell it. But you can see art. You can experience it through the TV, even if it’s diluted and dripping with eye roll-worthy irony — ala someone making a sculpture that includes the phrase “I hate reality TV.”

The winner of this thing gets a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and a cash prize of $100,000.

Update: I’m over Miles. Abdi should win.

Last week the artists were paired up and each had to create a portrait of the other. Miles Mendenhall — arguably the most adorably eccentric person on television right now — won for his death portrait of Nao Bustamante. Nao, by the way, is not responsible for how much you think her art lacks.

Miles' winning portrait of Nao from last week.

I love Miles. Love, love, love Miles. Not so much in love with his OCD and how often he talks about it. But I love Miles. Especially when he jumped in this week to announce that Trong Nguyen’s anti-reality TV sculpture was “distractingly boring.”


And true!

Miles is very aware of his place on this show. Having said that, I think Abdi Farah should’ve won that first challenge for his amazing and arresting portrait of Ryan Shultz. I feel like I now know Ryan just from Abdi’s portrait. Isn’t that the point? Or part of the point? Was there a point?

Just now on “The Shape of Things to Come,” the second episode of the first season, the artists had to create a sculpture out of materials from an appliance graveyard.

Miles stayed the star of the show, from talking about his OCD to taking a nap to making everyone sick with chemicals to lying to Jaclyn Santos about potential hair loss. He’s an odd cod.  He reminds me of Brett Clouser from “Survivor: Samoa.” In a good way.

Miles did some performance art by sleeping on his work in the gallery. Abdi did a statue with a TV head holding a remote control.

I was underwhelmed by the creativity in general this week, but it’s already clear that Miles and Abdi are the most talented artists on the show. But I’ve already said I don’t know anything about art, so take that for the nothing it’s worth.

Miles won this week. Again. Two weeks in a row and the show has only been on for two weeks. He said if they keep giving him free food, free beer and free art supplies he’ll stay here as long as they want. This kid was made for reality TV. And the producers know it.

Miles is anything but distractingly boring.

The elimination came down to Judith Braun, Jamie Lynn Henderson and Trong. Trong’s “distractingly boring” piece knocking reality TV sent him home.

Reality TV has spoken!


Here are the 12 artists left, from the original 14:

* Abdi Farah, 22 — Resides in: Baltimore, Maryland
* Erik Johnson, 30 — Resides in: Chicago, Illinois
* Jaclyn Santos, 25 — Resides in: Manhattan, New York
* Jamie Lynn Henderson, 24 — Resides in: Chicago, Illinois
* John Parot, 39 — Resides in: Los Angeles, California
* Judith Braun, 61 — Resides in: New York City, New York
* Mark Velasquez, 32 — Resides in: Santa Maria, California
* Miles Mendenhall, 23 — Resides in: Minneapolis, Minnesota
* Nao Bustamante, 46 — Resides in: Troy, New York
* Nicole Nadeau, 25 — Resides in: Manhattan, New York
* Peregrine Honig, 32 — Resides in: Kansas City, Missouri
* Ryan Shultz, 26 — Resides in: Chicago, Illinois

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