Who is William Powhida?/Who
the fuck are you?
William Powhida is both an artist and a fictional persona, POWHIDA, created by the artist to satirize notions of individual genius, the dependence on personal biography, and the art world’s extremely fucked up relation to wealth and class. He also wrote criticism for the Brooklyn Rail for a few years before focusing more on writing about issues affecting working artists and their communities. Currently he is co-host of the podcast Explain Me with Paddy Johnson and on faculty at the School of Visual Arts in New York and he will be visiting faculty at Cornell in the fall of 2019.
What has he done?/Why is he
so fucking important?
William has been advancing his own interests and attacking the art world for about a decade with marginal success. Projects and Exhibitions executed firmly within the Capitalist paradigm include:
Persona, an early exhibition at Dam Stuhltrager that introduced the artist’s fractured personas including an early version of POWHIDA.
This is a Work of Fiction, a 2007 exhibition at SchroederRomero that included a parody of New York Magazine artist’s biographies that introduced a fully-formed POWHIDA.
The Writing is on the Wall, a 2009 exhibition at SchroederRomero that included Relational Wall, a large-scale depiction of the art world’s hierarchical power structures, which is now the cover of Ben A. Davis’s excellent book 9.5 Theses on Art and Class. Holland Cotter of the New York Times said “William Powhida, art world vigilante, virtuoso draftsman, compulsive calligrapher, fantasist autobiographer and recently self-announced gallery owner and art dealer, has a semi-solo show at Schroeder-Romero well worth catching.”
How The New Museum Committed Suicide with Banality, a scathing critique of an amazing museum’s decision to transform itself into a showroom for a Greek oligarch. Jerry Saltz selected the drawing as his second favorite work of 2009 saying “This single drawing changed art-world minds, including mine. His spring solo at Schroeder Romero & Shredder was also one of the trickiest and most satirically cutting shows of the season, including portraits of art stars and players taken from the gossip site Artforum.com.” The drawing originally debuted on the cover of the venerable Brooklyn Rail, which won’t even link to it anymore. (Thanks Phong!) On the upside, The New Museum canceled any further “Imaginary Museum” shows like Skin Fruit.
#class, a collaborative inquiry into the contentious relationship between art and money with artist Jennifer Dalton that turned a commercial gallery into a open, less-hierarchical forum for a month. Holland Cotter also said “Bottom line: artists are artists’ best friends, and there should be more gatherings like this one.” in his review for the New York Times.
POWHIDA, A performance piece where the fictional character POWHIDA occupied Marlborough Chelsea for two weeks causing a shit-storm of outrage and, perhaps even some joy for people who hate the art world as much as the artist does. Brian Droitcour, (a Yelp Elite™ critic now) said in Artforum’s trashy Scene and Heard column “In my head I’d been composing the kind of invective that shuts dialogue down. Powhida was, I thought, a mediocre draftsman singularly obsessed with his own career, offering nothing but rarefied op-ed cartoons about the markets and personalities that stand in its way.” while New York Times critic Ken Johnson said “Exploiting a formerly blue-chip gallery as its platform, the exhibition is a crude yet refreshing living cartoon that spoofs the triumph of personal charisma and insider connections in contemporary art.”
Bill by Bill, A satirical take on fabrication and the art-industrial complex’s reliance on formula and tropes, The LA Times critic Holly Meyers said “So rare is good satire in contemporary art that its appearance — as in the newest exhibition of William Powhida, a New York-based artist who is fast evolving into one of its sharpest practitioners — makes one inclined to stand up and applaud.” Another critic from Artforum didn’t quite agree, but that’s pretty much how it’s gone the entire time.
After the Contemporary, The artist’s first solo exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum explores how contemporary art may be viewed as a distinct period of art history driven equally the rise of wealth and income inequality and changes in the art market. Posing as a future version of the Aldrich’s curatorial team in the year 2050, Powhida authored a museological history of The Contemporary and created fictional artifacts including a post-artist gallery model called Grevsky (along with Seth Stolbun) to exhibit alongside some of his own work in retrospective within the show. In his Hyperallergic review of the show critic Thomas Micchelli wrote “This synopsis barely skims the surface of a multilayered, impudent, lacerating exhibition that pricks pretense and self-delusion on every level, from mega-rich collectors fancying themselves pillars of civilization to politically committed artists rationalizing their aspirations to the high-end gallery system. ”
These are just a few of the projects that might matter…
Non-Standard Artist Biography
William Powhida is a G-E-N-I-U-S who makes fun of the art world to highlight the paradoxes and absurdities of economic and social value systems that keep the sphere of visual art afloat on a surging tide of inequality. His work relies on research and participation to diagram, list, perform and critique the forces that shape perceptions of value. He is responsible or partly responsible for exhibitions including After The Contemporary at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Month to Month with Jennifer Dalton, Overculture at Postmasters Gallery, and Hashtag Class [#class] with Jennifer Dalton at Winkleman Gallery. His recent exhibition After After the Contemporary was on view at Charlie James Gallery this spring and he will be exhibiting in November at Gallery Poulsen in Copenhagen.
Powhida is an infrequent contributor to ArtFCity and Hyperallergic on issues that alarm him and a member of the Artists Studio Affordability Project, an artist-led advocacy group working towards commercial rent regulation. He is also the co-host of Explain Me, a biweekly podcast with Paddy Johnson exploring the intersection of art, money, and politics.
He is currently represented by Postmasters Gallery (NY), Charlie James Gallery (LA), Poulsen Gallery (DK), and Platform Gallery (WA). He holds a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University and an MFA in painting from Hunter College. His work has been written about in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, The Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, ArtFCity, The Guardian, the New Yorker, New York Magazine, and October among other publications. His work in the collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, The San Diego Museum of Art, The Orange County Museum of Art, Casa Maaud, and JP Morgan.
CV: Download PDF updated 11.12.18
Friday, Daniel, “Marx@2000”, The Brooklyn Rail, June 5th, 2018
Osberg, Annabel, “William Powhida,” Artillery Magazine, February 28th, 2018
Nys Dambrot, Shana, “William Powhida: After ‘After the Contemporary,” Art and Cake, February 5th, 2018
Zellen, Jody, “William Powhida: After ‘After the Contemporary’.” ArtnowLA, January 29th, 2018
Cotter, Holland, “William Powhida, Political and Not Amused”, The New York Times, March 1st, 2017
Martinez, Alanna, “The Recipe for a Perfect Art Fair”, The Observer, March 5th, 2017
Micchelli, Thomas, “Drawing in a Time of Fear and Lies,” Hyperallergic, January 14th, 2017
Editors, “A Timeline of Attempts to Fix the Art World”, Artnews, January 3rd, 2017
Micchelli, Thomas, “The Pursuit of Art 2016”, Hyperallergic, December 31st, 2016
Boutboul, Charlotte, “Exploring Pulse Miami Beach’s North and South Tents”, Whitewall Magazine, December 1st, 2016
Kassan, Donna, “Artists and Their Muse: Gentrification”, The New York Times, December 2nd, 2016
Scott, Shaun, “Culture Got Us Here. Culture Will Get Us Out,” Cityarts, November 18th, 2016
Sutton, Benjamin, “In Philip Guston’s Nixon Drawings, a Tool Kit for Satirizing Loathsome Presidents”, Hyperallergic, November 12th, 2016,
Miranda, Carolina, “Essential Arts & Culture: Activists vs. art galleries, a battle over an alleged Pollock, Hammer gala”, Los Angeles Times, October 14th, 2016
Westall, Mark, “Why I Want to Fuck Donald Trump”, FAD Magazine, October 13th, 2016
Ongley, Hannah, “Counterculture Art Show has Trump’s Tombstone and a Very NSFW Title,” I-d Magazine, October 10th, 2016
Michelli, Thomas, “The Shelflife of Political Art”, Hyperallergic, July 23rd, 2016
Slenske, Michael, “Donald Trump, the Muse: How 6 Artists Are Capturing the GOP Candidate”, New York Magazine, July 6th, 2016
Rayner, Alex, “Art house: Los Angeles and New York artists tackle the inequity of real estate”, The Guardian, May 31st, 2016
Rodney, Seph, “A Public Art Project Invites Gentrifiers to Confess Their Sins”, Hyperallergic, May 25th, 2016
Green, Chris, “Housing Costs Too Much: A Responsive Series of Awkward Dinner Conversations”, Art F City, May 23rd, 2016
Surana, Kavitha, “The Gentrification Art Show That Inspires ‘Intentional Awkwardness’”, Bedford+Bowery, May19th, 2016
Editors, “Editors’ Picks: 9 Art Events to See in New York This Week”, Artnet, May 16th, 2016
Angeleti, Gabriella, “The rent is too damn high: artists tackle New York’s gentrification problem”, The Artnewspaper, May 6th, 2016
Cotter, Holland, “Galleries Scramble Amid Brooklyn’s Gentrification”, The New York Times, April 21, 2016
Capps, Kriston, “New York City’s Unequal Housing Becomes a Stage for Public Art”, CityLab, April 6th, 2016
Miranda, Carolina. “Datebook: A show about radical weavings, rooms that rain, architectural photography.” Los Angeles Times, October 30th, 2015
Rhys, Emma. “Show Me the Money – People’s History Museum, reviewed by Emma Rhys.” The Manchester Review, September 2015
Michno, Christopher ”(UN)RELIABLY RANKING MFA EDUCATION: And Does Anyone Really Care?” Artillery Magazine, September 15th, 2015
Saltz, Jerry. “I Got Kicked Off of Facebook for Posting Images of Medieval Art.” New York Magazine, March 6th, 2014
Maneker, Marion. “William Powhida Doesn’t Think Much of Your Online Art.” Art Market Monitor, May 27th, 2105
Wilson, Calvin. “Contemporary Art Museum exhibition shows the art of being an artist.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 6th, 2015
Martinez, Alanna. “The Theme for Pulse New York 2015 Is ‘The Future’.” The New York Observer, February 2nd, 2015
Viveros-Faune, Christian. “The 50 Most Exciting Artists of 2014.” Village Voice, December 29th, 2014
Foumberg, Jason. “Toward an Egalitarian ArtPrize.” Art in America, October 15th, 2014
Vartanian, Hrag. “The Frontier of the Art World.” Hyperallergic, October 2nd, 2014
Chang, Richard. “Orange County Museum of Art explores art through an avant-garde lens.” Orange County Register, September 18th, 2014
Miranda, Carolina. “Crazy babies and pantyhose: 5 must-see works at OCMA’s ‘Avant-Garde’.” Los Angeles Times, September 10th, 2014
Davenport, Bill. “Old Times on the Island.” Glasstire, August 27th, 2014
Hopkin, Thomas. “Review: Show Me The Money: The Image of Finance, 1700 To The Present – NGCA, Sunderland.” Contemporary Art and Writing Journal, August 22nd, 2014
Whetstone, David. “Artists flash the cash in exhibition about finance.” The Journal UK, July 15th, 2014Langer, Erin. “Prefab Paintings: William Powhida’s Unretrospective.” New American Paintings, 2014.
Graves, Jen. ““To Break Even in Seattle Art, Your Paintings Have to Be Made in China.” The Stranger, May 7, 2014.
Panero, James. “May Gallery Chronicle.” The New Criterion
Micchelli, Thomas. “Like It Is: William Powhida at Postmasters“, Hyperallergic
Viveros-Faune, Christian.“William Powhida Christens the “Overculture“, Village Voice
Rosenberg, Karen. “Glimpses of the Past and a High-Tech Future: A Critic’s Gallery Crawl Through Soho and Tribeca“, The New York Times
Gopnik, Blake. “Daily Pic: Powhida Gives Up, Grandly.” Artinfo
Sutton, Benjamin. “What to Look For, What to Buy at the Armory Show 2014.” Artnet, March 4th, 2014.
D’Agostino, Paul. “5 Brooklyn Artists You Need to Know.” L Magazine, March 5th, 2014.
Cook, Liz. “At La Esquina: Wall Street, Main Street, Charlotte Street.” The Pitch, November 5th, 2013.
Smith, Roberta. “Buring the Lede – News as Art.” The New York Times, October 17, 2013
Editorial. “Best Political Satirist – 2013” Village Voice, October 16th, 2013
Boucher, Brian. “Strong Sophmore Outing for Expo Chicago.” Art in America, September 23rd, 2013.
Vartanian, Hrag. “Is All the Stuff at Art Fairs the Same-ish?” Hyperallgeric, September 20th, 2013.
Harren, Natilee. “William Powhida.” Artforum, September 13th, 2013
Pepi, Michael. “Art About the Art World.” Brooklyn Rail, September 4th, 2013.
Cemblest, Robin. “The Ultimate Map of Art-World Feuds.” Art News Magazine, August 15th, 2013.
Haller, Vera. “In Bushwick, Artists Try to Rewrite Gentrification’s Usual Story.”The Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2013.
Sutton, Benjamin. “Get Ready for DebtFair, Where Collectors Can Buy Works by Paying Off Artist’s Debt.”Blouinartinfo. July 31, 2013.
Olshansky, Clara and Kimball, Whitney. “Why DebtFair? On Outing Debt, and the Mutual Aid Economy.”ArtFCity. July 19, 2013.
D’Agostino, Paul. “What Do Brooklyn Artists Need?”The L Magazine. July 17, 2013.
Winkleman, Edward. “A Conversation with William Powhida on the Contemporary Artist’s Narrative.”Edward Winkleman. July 1, 2013.
Dacheux, Stacy. “William Powhida Uses The Medium Itself To Evaluate Art’s Criticism And Commercial Culture.” Beautiful Decay. June 28, 2013.
Miranda, Carolina A. “The Bermuda Triangle of Art.” Hyperallergic, May 21, 2013
Spaulding, Trevor. “William Powhida Paints in Earnest.”New American Paintings. May 7, 2013.
Meyers, Holly. “Review: William Powhida wrly eyes the business of art.”Los Angeles Times. April 25, 2013.
Sutton, Benjamin. “Curators Kyle Chayka and Marina Galperina Bring the Vanguard of Vine to the Moving Image.”BlouinArtinfo. March 17, 2013.
Vidokle, Anton. “Art without Market, Art without Education: Political Economy of Art.”E-Flux, 2013. (publication)
Cohn, Hana. “100 Most Iconic Works of the Past Five Years.” Complex Magazine. Jan 8, 2013
Brand, Will. “SEVEN: The Fair We Enjoy.”Artfcity, December 8, 2012.
Gilsdorf, Bean. “Art and Vexation: Interview with William Powhida.”Daily Serving. Nov 7, 2012.
Halperin, Julia. “In New Drawing, William Powhida Responds to Jerry Saltz’s Advice for Artists.”BlouinArtinfo, October 10, 2012.
Editors. “The 100 Most Iconic Art Works of the Last 5 Years.”Blouin ArtInfo, Sept 17th, 2012.
Apter, Emily. “Occupy Derivatives!/ Politics ‘smallest p’”October, Fall 2012.
Sutton, Benjamin. “CNN Commissioned Election-Themed Art From Liz Magic Laser, William Powhida, And More.”BlouinArtinfo, August 23, 2012.
Alday, Sean. “Notes from the 1%” Bushwick Daily, June 12, 2012.
Cooper, Ashton. “There May Be Dancing” William Powhida on Tomorrow’s “Telethon for the 1 Percent.”BlouinArtinfo. June 8, 2012.
Fox, Dan. “Changing Places.”Frieze, Summer, 2012.
Powhida, William. “Why Are (Most) Artists (So Fucking) Poor?”Hyperallergic, April 13, 2012.
Kimball, Whitney. “Village Voice Critics Address Art and Protest.”Artfcity, March 20, 2012.
Parrish, Matthew. “William Powhida at Lycoming College.”SunGazette, March 18, 2012.
Hearst, Alison. “William Powhida: Seditions”Pastelegram, March 16th, 2012.
Van Horn, Rachael. “Artfully Stated.” Arts & Culture North TX, March 15th, 2012.
Micchelli, Thomas. “Pie in the Sky When You Die: Art, Money and Myth.”Hyperallergic, April 28, 2012.Silva, Mariana. “William Powhida” E-Codigo, Feb-Mar, 2012
Dempsey, Dean. “Pretty Pictures with William Powhida.”SFAQ, Dec 29, 2011.
Miranda, Carolina A. “Biting The Hand That Feeds Them”, Art News, Dec, 2011
Chayka, Kyle. Alanna Martinez, “8 New York Art Picks for This Week, From Urs Fischer’s Mystery Show to William Powhida’s “Derivatives”,” Artinfo, October 19, 2011
“Show & Tell: William Powhida Takes on the Plutocracy at Postmasters Gallery,” In The Air, Art+Aucion, Artinfo, October 10, 2011
Johnson, Ken. “’POWHIDA’,” The New York Times, August 4, 2011
Cooper, Ashton. “Artist William Powhida Discusses the Outrageous Misbehavior That Notorious Art-World Wastrel, William Powhida,” Artinfo, August 1, 2011
Gopnik, Blake. “An Artist Turns Us All Into Puppets,” Newsweek Daily Beast, July 28, 2011
Droitcour, Brian. “William, It Was really Nothing,” Artforum, August 1, 2011
Finch, Charlie. “William Powhida Useless Tool,” artnet.com, August 3, 2011
Powhida, William. “Dispatch from Sheboygan: Week Three,” Hyperallergic, July 30, 2011
Chayka, Kyle. “The Joke Is On Whom?: Looking for the Punchline in William Powhida’s Burlesque of Art Stardom at Marlborough Gallery,” Artinfo, July 28, 2011
Nathan, Emily. “New Art Gallery Ramble,” Artnet.com July 28, 2011
Vartanian, Hrag. “POWHIDA Is a VIP Douchebag,” Hyperallergic, July 28, 2011
Wallin, Yasha. “William Powhida and the Art of Social Commentary,” Flavorpill, July 27, 2011
Powhida, William “Dispatch from Sheboygan: Week Two,” Hyperallergic, July 22, 2011
Powhida, William. “Dispatch From Sheboygan: On Memory,” Hyperallergic, July 15, 2011
Hirsh, Faye. “The Everyone Artwork”, Art In America, May, 2011
Bhatnagar, Priya. “I like the Art World and the Art World Likes Me”, Frieze, May 2011
Kalm, James. “Brooklyn Dispatches: ‘B’ Fair To Brooklyn”, Brooklyn Rail, May, 2011
Moret, A. “If These Walls Could Talk”, Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, April 2011
Panero, James. “Gallery Chronicle”, New Criterion, February 2011
Salmon, Felix. “A Guide To The Market Oligopoly System”, Reuters, December 28, 2010
O’Reilly, Sally. “Dirty Kunst”, Time Out London, December 22, 2010
Saltz, Jerry. “The Year in Art”, nymag.com, December 5, 2010
“Art, #class Interview with William Powhida and Jennifer Dalton”, Idiom.com
Graves, Jen. “Magical Thinking”, The Stranger
Falvey, Emily. “All That Glitters Isn’t Gold:Kitsch, Bling-bling, and Bullshit”, ESSE arts + opinions, Spring / Summer, 2010
Cotter, Holland. “Art in Review: ‘#class’”, The New York Times
Haber, John. “Cutting Class”, Haberarts.com
Lindholm, Erin. “New York’s Satellite Fairs: Bling, String, and Subversive Things”, Artinamerica.com
“SHOW REVIEWED: #class at Winkleman Gallery, NYC”, Onereviewamonth.com
Diaz, Eva. “Critic’s Picks”, Artforum.com, February 28, 2010
Robinson, Walter. “Art Show as Think Tank”, Artnet.com
Lindholm, Erin. “The Art of the Crowd”, Artinamericamagazine.com
“New Museum Suicide Drawing Can Be Yours”, Artinfo.com
Jackson, Candace. “#class Exhibit Challenges New Museum Show”, Wall Street Journal
Davis, Ben. “Ten Stories for 2009”, artnet.com
Kaplan, Steven. “William Powhida in A Tale of Three Covers”, post.thing.net
Saltz, Jerry. “Unearthed Classics and Reinvented Forms: The Best Art of 2009”, nymag.com
Davis, Ben. “Lost in Miami”, artnet.com
Cave, Damien. “Tweaking the Big-Money Art World on Its Own Turf”, The New York Times
Taft, Catherine. “Critics Picks: William Powhida at Charlie James”, artforum.com
Ollman, Leah. “Art review: William Powhida at the Charlie James Gallery”, Los Angeles Times
Robinson, Walter. “Artnet News: New Museum Brouhaha Goes Supernova”, artnet.com
Green, Tyler. “Artist William Powhida on the NuMu’s ‘suicide’”, Modern Art Notes
The Brooklyn Rail, Cover illustration, November 2009
Hegardt, Bjorn. Fukt Magazine, Issue # 7 1/2
Wagner, James. “SchroRoWinkleFeuerBooneWildenRosenGosianGallery”, jameswagner.com
Cotter, Holland. “Art in Review: William Powhida ‘The Writing is on the Wall’”, The New York Times
Johnson, Paddy. “William Powhida at Schroeder Romero”, ArtFagCity.com
Orden, Erica. “Lastly, Play the Odds (But Just for Fun)”, New York Magazine
Farr, Kristin. “Ode to CheapTrick: Art Review ‘I Want You to Want Me’”, KQEDArts.org
Egan, Maura. “Members Only/Artist of the Month Club”, The New York Times online
Art Lies, “Project Space”, pp. 24-29, reproduction of six works, Fall
Bancroft, Shelly and Peter Nesbett. “Letters”, art on paper
Hogan, Felicity. “Featured Artist”, Lower East Side Printshop Newsletter, Spring
Coburn, Tyler. “Special Focus: Reviews Marathon, New York; Air Kissing: Contemporary Art About the Art World; Momenta Art”, Art Review, February
Joselit, David. “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, Artforum, February
“You read it here first!”, The Art Newspaper, Art Basel Miami Beach Edition, Weekend, 8/9 December
Leffingwell, Ed. “William Powhida at Schroeder Romero”, Art in America
Kalm, James. “William Powhida ‘This is a Work of Fiction’”, The Brooklyn Rail
Saltz, Jerry. “This is a Work of Fiction”, Critics Pick, nymag.com
Waters, Juliet. “Chapbook Odyssey: ‘The Back of the Line’ illustrates the dark and stormy dangers of incompetent minds”, Montreal Mirror
Wolff, Rachel. “‘New York’ Magazine Loves William Powhida. Sort of.”, nymag.com
Littman, Brett, “Material Culture”, www.wps1.org, edition #8
Polnyi, Irene, “William Powhida, come back to New York”, MediumNYC, April 19th, 2006
Tran, Tam, “Dialogue”, www.the-wick.com
Graves, Jen, “I’m Nobody Still”, The Stranger
Kelly, Sue, “William Powhida”, The Seattle Weekly
Miller, Jeffery, “William Powhida Interviewed by Jeffery Miller”, www.platformgallery.com
Kalm, James, “The Ballot Show”, The Brooklyn, Rail, January
Lippens Nate, “Whimsy and Cocaine Ziggurats,” The Stranger
Hackett, Regina, “These Artists’ Visions are all in ‘Paperwork’”, Seattle Post- Intelligencer
Kalm, James, “Bill of Wrongs: Will the Real William Powhida Please Stand up,” November/December