POWHIDA at Chelsea Marlborough
27 July 2011


Marlborough Chelsea / July 27-August 12, 2011
The directors of Marlborough Chelsea are pleased to announce POWHIDA, a site-specific project by
the eponymous artist opening Wednesday, July 27th.  The exhibition will be on view through August
Utilizing the entire ground floor gallery, POWHIDA is the artist’s most ambitious installation to date.
In keeping with his oeuvre, Powhida has taken his relationship with the art world as the very subject
of the exhibition, employing numerous historical departure points and creating a vast conceptual
spectrum reflected in the diversity of the artist’s approaches to making art. These references span from
the 19th-century French Romantic painters Delacroix and Gericault to participatory performance that
de-materializes the object.
Like the artist himself, POWHIDA explores an array of contemporary socio-political and cultural
issues germane to the artist’s role in society. In the vein of Arthur Dove’s The Critic, 1925, and Ad
Reinhardt’s sardonic How to Look at Modern Art in America, 1946, POWHIDA unabashedly turns a
mirror on the idiosyncratic machinations of the industry, allowing an established international artist to
look at his role from the inside out.
The artist’s reverence for Duchamp and Warhol is central to understanding POWHIDA as an
installation of non-traditional art objects throughout the gallery; these objects signify a contextual
shift from the merely functional to the purposely artistic.  To signal this shift, the artist himself will
be physically present in the gallery operating as an autonomous artwork to further engage the viewer,
building on the exhaustive performances pioneered by Vito Acconci, Stuart Brisely, and Marina
The artist and objects themselves are the very means with which POWHIDA will coalesce into a
divergent, yet coterminous installation immersing the viewer in a manner similar to Oldenburg’s The
Store, 1961-62, the experiential amalgamations of Jason Rhoades, and more recently, Black Acid Co-Op,
the functional meth lab created by Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe installed at Deitch Projects, New
York in 2009.  While these installations required significant material alterations, POWHIDA strips the
Gallery to its essence, laying it bare.
In the artist’s words, “The gallery is a world unto itself, a social space with a highly codified set of
relationships having the formal beauty of a ballet.  I will transform it, literally, choreographing each
movement, each gesture with every interaction. No two viewers will have a similar experience in the
gallery if I can help it.  They may never see an art gallery the same way again.”
POWHIDA is generously supported by Flavorpill, The Mondrian Soho and Pernod-Absinthe. A fully
illustrated digital catalogue will be available at the time of the exhibition.

Marlborough Chelsea / International Public Art Ltd., 545 West 25th St, New York, NY 10001  t. 212.463.8634  f. 212.463.9658  chelsea@marlboroughgallery.com

You can clearly see the influence or comparison with Warhol in Powhida’s art. I missed his exhibition last year and it appears to be my loss. Hope to see more of his work in the future.



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William Powhida
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