Abdi Farah, reality TV ‘artist,’ meets his viewers

Abdi Farah, reality TV ‘artist,’ meets his viewers
Photo by Tom Callan

Their favorite son made it big.

Abdi Farah, the artist who won an exhibit of his work at the Brooklyn Museum after conquering Bravo’s “Work of Art” reality TV competition, spoke to an adoring throng of students from his old high school in Maryland last week.

The roughly 250 visiting students from the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology were star-struck by Farah as he took the stage of the Cantor Auditorium inside the museum — one student even asked the budding artist if he would marry her, much to the crowd’s delight.

But Farah displayed the same humility that made him a hit with television audiences, reminding the students about the value of hard work and perseverance.

After giving a brief slideshow of his work and taking questions, Farah guided them to his gallery space, where he signed plenty of autographs, gave more friendly advice and explained the artistic process behind his racially charged sculptures and paintings. Like most visitors, the students were most struck by the two supine figures stretched out on the floor as if they were dead — both of which were wearing designer Nike shoes.

Farah’s art was a hit with the students, but earlier this summer he generated controversy among some critics and museum-goers who took issue with the notion that a low-brow “reality TV” show had been given a beachhead in Brooklyn’s most august art institution.

“Work of Art: Abdi Farah” at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000], now through Oct. 17. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.