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Backstage with Bravo’s Work of Art and the FAC’s Tariana Navas-Nieves

What makes good TV? From Bravo’s point of view, it must be the intersection of art and drama. The casting call on Bravo’s official webpage asked for “an emerging or mid-career artist with a unique, powerful voice interested in competing on the second season of Bravo’s hit show, “Work of Art: the Next Great Artist.” In the network’s own words:

Like last season, with cast members ranging from recent art school graduates to artists with gallery representation and pieces in the permanent collections of internationally recognized museums, the producers invite artists from all career levels to come out for this potentially life- and career-changing opportunity.

To select season two’s participants, the producers needed expert help in choosing artists with the right mix of talent, technique, and personality.

The FAC’s Tariana Navas-Nieves, Curator of Hispanic and Native American Art, was one of about nine curators and gallery representatives from around the country invited to review hundreds of candidates in California.

The reviews took place in five minute blocks—similar to speed dating—inside a massive Santa Monica warehouse gallery used by the studio. Over 300 artists stood in a line that wrapped around the building and through the parking lot to share their portfolios, canvases, sculptures, and hopes with the review team.

“It was a unique opportunity and a great honor,” said Navas-Nieves.

“To experience the behind the scenes and meeting the host, China Chow was a treat. Chow (who grew up in New York around the best of the 1980s art scene including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel among many) is quite charming. She truly cares about the artists and sees the show as an important opportunity for them. I absolutely agree.”

For Navas-Nieves, it was also a chance to represent the FAC and Colorado, and to share her expertise in contemporary American art with a nation-wide art community.

“That was the greatest part. I love contemporary art and this also allowed me to play a role in making a difference in an artist’s life, perhaps the next great artist!

Also representing Colorado in the review process was local artist Atomic Elroy, who made the first cut.