/ Why she’s interesting / The Cleveland Institute of Art professor was a contestant on the second season of the Bravo reality show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, making it to the final six. Kabot’s 2011 solo exhibition at the Akron Art Museum, Unfolding Space, reconfigured and re-imagined the museum’s Judith Bear Isroff Gallery.
/ Sense of self / The show’s 14 contestants were introduced to one another with the help of a self-portrait. For hers, Kabot strung together 100 photos taken in the same sitting. “In a Sears portrait studio you would only see one in the long run: the isolated, perfect version. I wanted to undermine that system. ... To isolate one moment and glorify it against all others seemed to me a little bit absurd.”
/ Art as competition /Work of Art imposes a time limit on challenges, the longest only 12 hours. By comparison, Kabot’s Akron Art Museum installation took six months to create and two weeks to install. “I wanted to challenge myself [on TV] … and have the opportunity to surprise myself either with its fabulousness or its horror.”
/ Deconstruction zone / “When I look at things, I imagine how they are put together.” That idea of taking things apart and revealing their structure is evident in Kabot’s art. “A lot of things in our world, they just appear to us. They are born, not made. Like an iPad, we know how it’s put together, sort of, but not really.”
/ Early influence / Kabot grew up in Troy, Mich., in a condominium that looked just like those of her neighbors. “There was this shell of similarity, but once you opened one little seam, all of the real meaning tumbled out.”
/ Road not taken / In college Kabot chose studying art over microbiology. “It’s not that unusual. I have a student now who decided between physics and drawing.”
/ Lesson learned /Work of Art helped Kabot realize it’s easy to get complacent in the studio. “You’re an artist for a reason, and one would assume it’s to shake things up and surprise yourself.”