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The show we’ve all loved to hate has finally come to a close. Work of Art: The Next Great Artist announced Abdi as the winner of the televised artist competition series, and the recipient of a $100,000 prize and a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum. Abdi played the game right. He was earnest, kind and sincere; he took the judges guidance from his critiques and transformed his work in a steady progression. In the end, he earned his place in the finals but I’m not sure that Abdi’s work was more compelling than the other two finalists – Peregrine and Miles. His graphite pieces and tightly rendered paintings were some of his strongest work throughout the competition, but his minimal presentation at the final challenge didn’t impress me.

The truth is, all three finalists are remarkably talented and equally deserving of a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum.  Miles seemed like a strong contender and my overall favorite throughout the competition. Perhaps the dialogue he was creating through the work was just a bit too cold and conceptual for the museum as compared to Abdi’s more urban themes. And who doesn’t want to see more from Peregrine? But perhaps her final exhibition could have used a little editing. Abdi did present a refined and well-edited collection of work that was focused and had a clear point of view – curators love that. Let’s see what the future holds for him…

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