Dear Grand Rapids

My exhibition, Unretrospective, which debuted at Platform Gallery this spring has been reconstituted at the Fed Galleries of Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI as part of their exhibition Money Matters. The exhibition is also part of Art Prize, a quasi-democratic art award competition. As part of the Unretrospective, any of my previous works available on my website may be republished in China. Please check out this post for further details on ordering a Republication.

Money Matters/Artprize™
Posted by admin on 28 September 2014

GP_14_NewDevelopments_LargeSome_Victories_cert14_Diealectics_Powhida_web14_Wattis_Eneme_L14_Wattis_PostStudio_L These are a few drawings from recent shows in Mexico City, Copenhagen, and San Francisco, as well as a commissioned work from #Overculture at Postmasters.  Please check out all the new works from “Notes from Mexico” at Casa Maauad currently on view and installation photographs from my collaboration with Jade Townsend “New New Berlin”.







Some Recent Drawings
Posted by admin on 1 September 2014

Social Life of Artistic PropertyI’m pleased to announce the self-publication of our book, “The Social Life of Artistic Property” after two and half years of development in between the many other projects of the contributors.  The book is available for purchase or as a free PDF here.  Working with this group of artists and activists helped lead to the development of Placeholder, a long-term, rent-stabilized alternative building ownership model.  Stay tuned for another book release discussion in July.  Many thanks to the CUE Art Foundation for hosting our book launch panel earlier this month. The book is currently an Artnews selectionWe get historical case studies alongside a host of topical issues affecting artists’ abilities to work, such as the French droit de suite, the right to resale royalties of artists and their heirs.”

Cover image by William Powhida,  “Some Studio Externalities” digital drawing, 2014.

The Social Life of Artistic Property
Posted by admin on 25 June 2014


For the duration of my show, Unretrospective, in Money Matters Kendall College of Art and Design  you can order an authenticated “POWHIDA” republication from any JPEG* available on my website. Please browse my online catalog and send an email to with your request(s).  Please use the following format for ordering (You can copy and paste it right into an email to


  • File Name:
    (Please control+click/right-click on the thumbnail image and copy the Image URL ie
  • Desired Size (Max width or height in inches):
  • Safe for Work (Yes or No):
  • Stretched (Yes or No):


Please allow 1-3 business days for the Stephen to provide you with a price quote (stretching will cost extra).  A deposit for half of the republication will be required to begin production in ShenZhen, China.  You can expect to receive your oil painted JPEG and a certificate of authenticity within 4 – 6 weeks.  There’s one painter…one…willing to do reproduce my work.

* Each JPEG will be altered slightly by me and the Chinese painter who works on these.


Posted by admin on 30 April 2014


William Powhida

Unretrospective Press Release


May 1 to June 7, 2014
Artist’s Reception, Saturday, May 3, 11AM to 5PM

Platform Gallery is pleased to present our third solo exhibition of works by William Powhida. It has been six years since Powhida’s last solo show at Platform. In that time he has continued his critique and dissection of both the art world and the financial world through text-based drawings and works on canvas including lists, charts, diagrams, instructions for the fabrication of “sculptures” and “paintings,” both as the persona “Powhida” as well as the actual artist William Powhida. His most recent exhibitions in New York (Derivatives and Overculture) and Los Angeles (Bill by Bill) have focused on the causes and effects of the financial crisis; the idea of artistic originality and outsourced fabrication of artworks in contemporary art; and the current frenzied art market flooded with oligarchs’ abundance of money.


Along with new drawings for the exhibition, Powhida is making republications of his past work available as original oil paintings made in a painting village in Shenzhen, China, to be painted in oil on canvas. Nods toward globalization, reproducibility, and the fabrication of artworks of an artist by other (anonymous) artists point to the discussion that at least one of the two Powhidas want the viewer (and collector) to consider. From his piece titled “Dear Seattle”: “After discussing a show where nothing would be for sale . . . we were informed that would be pretty . . . stupid. I’m all for some self sabotage but running a gallery isn’t FREE because RENT, LABOR, TIME, etc. Then Stephen told me about his trip to China and the painting village. We decided it would be great to do a kind of “Greatest Hits” show or a unRetrospective (the museums aren’t exactly lining up offers). Through the MAGIC of exploitive globalization we are able to offer “original” POWHIDA republications at PRICES you might be able to afford for a limited time (OR our inventory runs out in decades days). For your viewing pleasure and instant gratification, we’ve pre-ordered 5 BRILLIANT LISTS reflecting the trajectory of my artistic . . . GROWTH. You can also order ANYTHING off my website while the show is open following simple instructions. Please, just BUY something.”



Posted by admin on 28 April 2014

Take away the term’s mock lexicality (itself a parody of artspeak) and you have a staggering précis of today’s top-down creative churn.`

-Christian Viveros-Faune, “William Powhida Christens the “Overculture“, Village Voice


All of this suggests that resistance to “overculture”, whether in art or in writing, is noble but ultimately futile.

-Karen Rosenberg, “Glimpses of the Past and a High-Tech Future: A Critic’s Gallery Crawl Through Soho and Tribeca“, The New York Times


 This work, like 2011’s “Griftopia,” suggests an ambition to find a way to articulate our vertiginous moment without stinting on its complexity, a graphic format with the potential to become an art of everything.

-Thomas Micchelli, “Like It Is: William Powhida at Postmasters“, Hyperallergic


The self-awareness of this show and its high level of skill left me with a sense for Powhida that was ultimately more profound and somber than comic.


-James Panero, Gallery Chronicle, The New Criterion


Photo Credit: Installation view, “William Powhida: Overculture” at Postmasters Gallery (photo by the Thomas Micchelli for Hyperallergic)

Installation view, “William Powhida: Overculture” at Postmasters Gallery (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

#Overculture reviewed
Posted by admin on 28 April 2014

Postmasters is pleased to present Overculture an exhibition of new works by William Powhida. The show will include paintings, sculptures, drawings, lists and charts.

Overculture 1:
1.a small cultural group (artists) within the larger culture, often affirming the beliefs or interests of the ruling class (collectors).
“The two parties thus engage in an uneasy courtship around unspoken divisions and unacknowledged aspirations, where each seeks the perceived (and performed) freedoms of the other.” -David Geers
1. a negative or ambivalent feeling about culture often in relation to socio-economic conditions.

(read more)  from the press release

Posted by admin on 22 March 2014

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“Co-curated by George Terry and Jonathan Durham

GUTS are the slippery viscera of courage, nerve, and audacity. Quite possibly the most vital trait an artist can have. The artists in this exhibition embrace the irreversibility of pushing themselves through the most narrow of passageways. The choices they make come with great risk of failure to materials, concept, reputation, and body. Risk takers, however, at times achieve the highest results and deserve the most respect.”

Posted by admin on 6 December 2013

Jennifer McCoy joined me in hosting a discussion around higher education in the arts at Joe Riley, Casey Golan, and Victoria Sobel’s class They Can’t Kill Us All at Bruce High Quality Foundation. Here’s the introductory text.

I also recently published a rather long-read on individual and collective property ownership on Big, Red, and Shiny.  I have to thank editor John Pyper for prodding me to contribute to the journal.  The piece was inspired by the work I’ve been doing with Jules deBalincourt, Paddy Johnson, and Lynn Sullivan to create stable studio space in New York.  I also contributed a drawing proposal “The Yellow Building” to’s project Envision NY 2017.

Artist Caroline Woolard also recently shared a link to her project bfamfaphd about organizing artists to make alternative investments in their own education and working conditions. Woolard’s project brings together these two incredibly important issues for artists and non-artists; property and education.


Property & Education
Posted by admin on 11 November 2013

KSR_notes_1Kim Stanley Robinson spoke yesterday at PS1 as part of Triple Canopy’s series “The Future is _______”. Robinson’s clear-eyed and sensible speculation about the future was the sort of reasoning one might wish to hear coming from the president and Congress. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we will see our state begin the kind of Utopian planning Robinson calls for before we “cook ourselves” burning 2,000 gigatons of available carbon over the next thirty to fifty years. Robinson’s description of “the long emergency” is part of the catastrophe narrative of climate change, population growth, and predatory dumping by capitalist markets. In a moment of bleak humor, Robinson said the reality of the catastrophe narrative “won’t even be as fun as The Road.” The conditions of a catastrophic rise in water levels for example would be like a thousand Katrinas and that he wouldn’t be worried about the survival of democratic government, he’s more worried about the survival of the species. In short, the long emergency isn’t about changing quality of life, but a possible extinction event.
In the face of the gloom and doom, Robinson’s ideas about Utopia are based in reasonable consumption of resources and a notion of adequacy. This is the “how much is enough?” question, or a matter of degree. Robinson highlighted the efforts of the 2,000 watt society in Switzerland as an example of a model of adequacy in modern life. The city of Zurich has voted to adopt the policies of the 2,000 watt society by 2030 countrywide. It’s a compelling counter-narrative to the ‘grey jumpsuit’ fear mongering about equitable distribution of energy. So, when Robinson talks about Utopia, he’s not talking about a place of our dreams, but a world the provides food, housing, healthcare, education; the foundations of happiness.KSR_notes_2
To this end, the root of the long emergency lies in the “bad economics we live in and the market.” Robinson describes the fallacy of ‘free-markets’ talking specifically about predatory dumping, the practice of pumping products into the market at artificially low-rates. He expanded on the economic definition to suggest that our economy systematically under-prices commodities by shifting things like environmental costs to the future. This creates what Robinson calls an inter-generational ponzi scheme, which requires in response multi-generational Utopian projects to plan for the necessary correction when the ponzi scheme goes bust. To do this, Robinson believes we need to use science against Capitalism, just as science brought about the Enlightenment, it can be used to lift us out of the residual feudalism of Capitalism and our new aristocracy of inequality. Robinson reasons that capitalism is a bad social technology or economic technology making it a bad model for dealing with the long emergency. He specifically talked about the financial cost of not burning that 2,000 gigatons of carbon in the earth, it’s worth $1,600 trillion. What capitalist is going to leave that much money in the earth? This is why, Robinson argues, that we need new economic models other than capitalism to contend with the consequences of our consumer lifestyles.
In a light moment, Robinson says it’s a matter of style. “Do you want good style or bad style? Do you want to be a fat rich person in a gated community?” The alternative being a fuller, richer social life in the company of friends and family with less material luxury. This requires us to consider what are necessities, and what we can live adequately without. Ultimately, someone in the audience asked “why are you drinking out of a plastic water bottle?” Robinson, a little chagrined, describe his low-carbon footprint lifestyle back in Davis, California, a very bike-friendly community, but the moment captured Robinson’s closing remarks that the way forward is messy, and there is no single solution. He referenced philosopher Karl Popper’s term monocausotaxophilia, wherein people believe in a single solution like God or Freedom to all of the manifold, interrelated problems of our increasingly complex society. But, Robinson warns, there is no magic bullet and maintaining the status quo is now part of the catastrophe narrative.
Robinson’s keynote lecture was an excellent rejoinder to Slavo Zizek’s  assertion that the looming threat of ecological is one the major social antagonisms that require us to imagine society after capitalism.

Kim Stanley Robinson at Expo1
Posted by admin on 10 June 2013

William Powhida