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.