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 emphasis on personal biography, and the art world’s extremely fucked up relation to wealth and class.
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.
These are just a few of the projects that might matter…
Non-Standard Artist Biography
William Powhida (b. 1976, New York) is a G-E-N-I-U-S and habitual critic of the art world. Powhida lives and works in New York. He studied painting at Syracuse University where he easily received a B.F.A with honors and scored an M.F.A. from the nicely remodeled Hunter College program. He has exhibited internationally in New York, Los Angles, Seattle, London, Madrid, Miami, Chicago, Copenhagen, Austria, Dublin, and even the Canary Islands . Recent shows include Unretrospective at Platform Gallery, Overculture at Postmasters Gallery, and Bill by Bill at Charlie James Gallery, which have left people slightly confused.
He has organized exhibitions including #class and #rank with Jennifer Dalton, Magicality with Eric Trosko, and Dunkle Wolke at StorefrontBK in
the dreaded Bushwick. He also collaborated with Jade Townsend on the Lemonade Stand, ABMB Hooverville, Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes, and the recent New New Berlin at the Galveston Artist Residency. His work has been discussed in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, Art News, Artinfo, Artnet, Hyperallergic, Art Fag City among others. He has enjoyed and endured residencies at the Lower East Side Printshop, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and Casa Maauad in Mexico City. Currently, he is working on solo show for Gallery Poulsen in Copenhagen and researching the subject of artist payments for a drawing project.
Despite all of this, he is probably best known for his horrific drawing “How the New Museum Committed Suicide with Banality”and the equally horrible show POWHIDA at Marlborough Chelsea in 2011. He hopes #class and Ben Davis’s book 9.5 Theses on Art and Class might mitigate some of that damage along with some occasional writing for various blogs and journals. He is also a founding member of Placeholder, a group working towards establishing long-term, rent stabilized studios in New York.
Currently he is represented in New York by Postmasters Gallery, in Seattle by Platform Gallery, in Los Angeles by Charlie James Gallery, and in Copenhagen by Gallery Poulsen. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art. Follow him on Twitter @powhida if you can handle strong language and occasional time-based abuse of the medium. (updated 9.28.14)
CV: Download PDF
Langer, 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