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work of art

Work of Art Exit Interview: Runner-up No. 1

The strange (but nonetheless addictive) journey that has been Bravo’s Work of Art has come to an end. And we’re pretty sure that fans and naysayers alike were impressed by the three finalists’ showings.

The quirky, pixie-esque Peregrine Honig came this-close to scoring the win. We caught up with her the next day.

What has this process been like for you?
I had a really amazing experience doing this show as an artist, but also as a human being. I think I went into the process thinking it would be one thing and I came out realizing it was another. It was much more creative and honest from the inside than I thought it would be. I truly gave myself to Bravo for this project and they came back at me with their show. My work is about social structures and pop culture and I thought, I’m going to learn about this and be a part of this. And it was really incredible to have all my comforts and all the things I use to procrastinate taken away from me. I think I made some really great work under the conditions I was given.

We sort of saw you moving from drawing and works-on-paper into this much more interdisciplinary place. Was that transition happening because of the show? Or is that something that had been happening in your work anyway?
It was happening in my work anyway, but also from having such a different work environment and also having such a short amount of time to produce so much work. You just work so differently, so I felt I was truly successful with my work when I embraced the camera as a medium. So when I went into that final show I realized the last layer to this show is the documentation of it. And I was pleased with my exhibition — I thought it was beautiful in the way that it came together. But then seeing it on-camera I felt really good because I felt that I had also been aware of the camera as part of my show.

As in making work that would read well onscreen? Or something more conceptual?
Not just making work that would read well, but that the pieces would almost be completed once they were documented. Most people don’t get to see original pieces of art. What they see is the poster version, the tourist cup of a painting ... So in a weird way this Bravo TV show brought the representation of these pieces of art into people’s living rooms. And I thought that was pretty incredible.

Read Jerry Saltz's recap here.

This seemed different from some of the other competition-based reality shows. The camaraderie between you and the other two finalists made it seem almost like you were all putting on a group show rather than competing.
We all stayed in heavy contact with each other. We had been through something so strange. Being creative, being sensitive, needing to recover from such neurotic working conditions ... We needed each other to be able to open up again and make new work.

Did you feel like the judges’ critiques were helpful?
Having Will Cotton, whose work I really like, was such a sweet surprise. Jerry Saltz — I’ve been reading him and Roberta Smith like they’re “Dear Abby” for so long. I think Jerry was great for me because he liked my work, so he was hard on me. I grew from his criticisms. All of the critics really put themselves out there, and in some ways I feel like Bill and Jeanne and Jerry — they have a lot to lose because they’re judged by people who are even higher up, in some ways. So I thought it was pretty brave of them and all the visiting artists to give their faith to such a kind of volatile medium.

So what’s up now? Have you gotten any new opportunities as a result of being on the show?
I have gotten way more opportunities! It’s like curating — edit and figure out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do, and negotiate a “no.” I agreed to a solo show at Dwight Hackett Projects in Sante Fe in October before any of this went down, so I’m working on that. I also finished a book right before the show called Widow — it’s kind of a pretend fashion magazine. I went into it with, "I don’t have the money afford to market this book, so I’ll just get on a reality-TV show!" My husband was like, “Are you crazy??” But whatever! It’s either my time or my money. And I had the time to do this and it’s Bravo — I respect this venue for this idea. It’s not Wife Swap or something crazy.

I have to ask — your wardrobe always provided such a breath of fresh air on the show. Where do you shop?
My dress for last night and many of the things I wore were from my friends, specifically Peggy Noland, who is just amazing. I own a little underwear store with my friend Danielle called Birdies Panties, and her store is a couple storefronts up. Her work really walks the line between fashion and art. And my friend Ari Fish, who was the first girl who got kicked off of Project Runway season six, makes a lot of my pieces. I think the clothes you wear are kind of like your story. And I want to tell a good story.

Read Jerry Saltz's recap here.