China Chow was introduced to the Manhattan art world as a child when her father's restaurant, Mr. Chow, became the choice hangout for art legends including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Robert Rauschenberg. Since then, Chow has made her mark as a model, muse, activist, actress and social network hub. She is now beginning her 2nd season as host and judge of 'Work of Art: The Next Great Artist' on Bravo, in which 14 contestants compete in art challenges for an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and $100,000. We interviewed China about the new season, her past with art superstars and more.
How will this season of WOA be different from last season?
This season of Work of Art will include new challenges, new guest judges and of course, new artists. Since we'd done this before, Jerry, Bill and I were much more comfortable working together as a group. I think that comes through, especially during critiques.
Who were you rooting for during season 1 of WOA? Do you think Abdi Farrah earned the title of the 'next great artist?'
It was interesting, I was rooting for different artists at different times, things kept shifting. You might think that you can plan ahead and decide who you want to send home next, but it really doesn't work that way.....one of your favorites might choke that week and some one else might step it up.
Yes, I think Abdi deserved to win.
Having spent time with legendary artists such as Warhol and Basquiat, how is the latest iteration of the contemporary art world differ from the one you grew up in?
The art world seems so much bigger than it was when I was growing up. I feel like contemporary art is everywhere now and with the rise of the internet, it's so much easier to see what artists are doing and to follow their careers. I love looking at AGMA magazine online, it is a great source to see comprehensive installation shots of international art shows.
To what extent do you think WOA presents an accurate picture of the contemporary art process and contemporary art world?
Making art is different for everyone. Some artists work under constant deadlines and fulfill commissions, the show offers a portrayal of art making along those lines. The critique portion of the show is very similar to the process that artists experience in art school.
Many fans of the show see it as a strange and immersive performance piece in itself. Do you think WOA is a standard reality show a la 'Runway,' or is there a bigger project involved?
I have heard from many people that they do see the show as performance art. I consider it to be a pretty straight forward competition show, however there is no controlling the magic of art.