In 2021 Robert K. Wittman agreed to speak with me about his experience being undercover in the art world for more than 20 years. What began as a series of interviews about his time with the FBI, quickly turned into something closer to therapy.
I found myself telling him things instead of asking him things. Like, I didn’t feel I was convincing strangers that I was, in fact, an artist. The first question everyone asks when they hear you’re an artist is, “What do you paint?” I don’t.
The roles he played in the art world were life or death. Could he help me unequivocally nail the persona of a conceptual artist who makes research-heavy transmedia interventions?
But also when the world assumes that if you’re an artist then you must be a painter, then perhaps the only option is to be an artist who tries to make a painting.
All My Clothes That Make Me Look Most Convincingly Like An Artist According to Robert K. Wittman, Former FBI Agent Undercover in the Art World, 2021
78 1/2 x 20 inches
I don’t feel like an artist at the grocery store. Robert K. Wittman: Wear a locket that contains images of your artwork, look at it and think about how you’re an artist. The only painting I ever plan to exhibit. Painted while wearing the clothes in which Robert thinks I look most convincingly like an artist., 2022
13 x 17 inches
acrylic on canvas