I’m pleased to be part of The Vision Board, a group show curated by Elizabeth Valdez that opens at Paul Kopeikin Gallery Saturday June 29th in Los Angeles.  I was negatively inspired by Roberta Smith’s recent demand to ‘stop hating Jeff Koons’, so I gave it a shot with “How to Make it For Real.” I’ll let you know if I suddenly embrace the Koonsian demand for a certain quality of life where economics are just icing on a cake.  My yoga teacher (don’t hate, I have to do something besides drinking in the basement) tried to get us to think with our ‘other mind’ and practice inverting our perspective.  That is generally the content of “How to Make it For Real” as I attend to the thoughts of the other Powhida.  

I’m also happy to have helped raise a few thousands dollars for Smack Mellon and Artspace in New Haven with two new drawings “Oh hey, collectors” and “Notes for New Lists.”

Artspace was one of the first places to show my work, such as it was in the early aughts, and I am glad that they are still going strong while non-profits struggle to keep their doors open. It was dispiriting to hear Nurture Art announce that is closing in Bushwick, leaving us with one less alternative to the market.  It’s not that I think commercial galleries are the root of all evil, but the dismal state of non-profits shows how skewed art is towards the drives and desires of money. 

I am seriously trying to believe Roberta and Jerry that there is a part of art that exists beyond Capitalism, but I’m pretty sure that art as I know it is a byproduct of capital accumulation whether we want to accept that or not. I’m resisting listening to the David Chang podcast where he discusses the parallels of art and money with Jerry and Roberta.  I feel like it might cause me to self-harm and drink a bottle of brown liquor.  On the other hand, I don’t feel like such a crazy person for showing clips of Chef’s Table to describe some aspects of class relations in the art world.  It is a very high-end service industry.  Now we can just look at @jerrygogosian memes on Instagram where you can practically smell the desperation and hints of a red wine hangover in the pursuit of the elusive sale.   Or you can look at my hideous not-memes that largely come from horror films, because I cannot think of a better metaphor for being an artist.  There is not enough self-care (yoga or otherwise) or magical thinking in the world to make me think otherwise. Put away that Tarot deck. 

Speaking of sales, I also had a one day April Not Fool’s sale where people could pay what they said they could afford for one of my series of not entirely original Artforum paintings.  Simon Linke has been making them for decades, but he has not, as far as I know used them to create a timeline of the contemporary or made up any satirical takes on the future of the art world.  Paddy Johnson sent me a rather amusing 60 Minutes segment of Linke being interviewed about his practice that is worth watching just to see a young Knight Landesmann wax about the aesthetics of Artforum ads, which confirmed my suspicions that the magazine played a strong role in defining the ‘look’ of the galleries’ advertisements.  I also imagine he personally selected the fashion ads, usually of women, to round out is particularly fucked-up, sexual predator vision of the art world. Anyway,  as one happy collector noted in total surprise, “Oh, these are real! and framed!  We owe you!”   They have indeed fed me and provided wine, so I feel better about the twenty dollars I made. 
I also have an print edition of “The Contemporary” available, and it is terrifying to watch Trump and his administration blunder towards war with Iran.  So, if you would like to contemplate 25 years of art, politics, and technological development, let us engage in some mutually agreed upon commodification.   I need some form of income while I work on a new series of drawings around ‘governance’ for a fall show, paint memes, and engage in semi-anonymous institutional criticism. More about that later.

6 December 2018

1 December 2018

On The Contemporary is currently open at Gallery Poulsen in Copenhagen, Denmark.  To view the entire exhibition please click through. The show is open through December 20th, 2018.  Images and video: Installation shots from Gallery Poulsen, A Privilege, 12 minutes, 2012 – 2024.  

14 March 2018

The fact that the art world relies on asymmetrical relationships isn’t a surprise, but for an aspect of culture that values autonomy and individuality above almost everything else (except maybe private property) the roles of the follower are much less discussed.  The viewer, the public, the audience, the masses; these all become terms to articulate the artist’s tertiary audience (after the collector and the experts, of course) that can become entangled with problematic notions of ‘popularity’ (this is bad for the serious artist) and democratic ideas like access and equity. For The Baffler’s recent issue “Holy Orders”, I contributed an exhibition called “Oh, Cults” that looks at Institutions, Figures, and their attendant Audiences.  I myself, am a guilty practitioner of shitposting and as I responded to a student’s question at a recent artist talk,  “Yes, I am part troll.”  

The entire exhibition is spread throughout the current issue of the Baffler, which I recommend subscribing to, as well as on the website.  The prints may be available soon as a limited edition suite or as individual limited edition prints through The Baffler’s store.   Here, the high price (luxury) of original drawings meets the lower price (affordability) of prints where touch is conveyed through a graphite signature.  


Last week Paddy Johnson and I spent the most hours either of us ever had at a single art fair (except for that time in 2006 where I interviewed people at Aqua in Miami about art fairs or the time at Parker’s Box where I took confessions for 3 days).  Seriously, this was the most time I’ve ever spent looking at art in a fair context, which Yelp Elite critic and Art in America editor Brian Droitcour called “Bushwick Open Studios in Times Square.”  He’s not wrong, but I don’t really read it as an insult compared to corporate chill of The Armory Show or the tasteful boredom of the Independent (which I skipped out on paying $25 bucks for this year). After 8 eight hours of art-ing at Spring Break, we discussed a few of the works that resonated with the show’s theme this year, A Stranger Comes to Town, in Part II after taking a broader look at the theme, trends, and some of the Open Studios level entries in Part I.  

William Powhida
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