Dirty Kunst
14 November 2010

My contribution to Dirty Kunst, an exhibition on the boundary of good taste at Seventeen Gallery in London, is limited two works, You and this piece.  Rant I is a response to a critique of my Work of Art rant* that I heard on the internets, “Powhida is cashing in on Work of Art as much as anyone with his rant.” Well, if I could deposit attention in my bank account or pay my landlord rent with it that’d be true. It’s part of a common assumption that artists are ‘paid’ with critical and popular attention.  Sure, attention is a social currency, but inevitably a social one that is expected to translate into economic currency later with sales.  At the time of the original critique, I did not have an object to translate that social currency into cash.

So, In order to more effectively cash in on the rant, I proceeded to revise the original text using graphite and colored pencils in the form of a large drawing, that looks like a ‘carpet of words’.  I think it would make a lovely shower curtain as well.  When and if I am able to sell Rant I, (and as the title implies, I’m sure there will be more), then the critique will definitely be true. I am trying to cash in on Work of Art. The show was a waste of time and an insult to artists everywhere.  In a perfect world,  this would sell for 100k and end up in the Brooklyn Museum.  I have no problem exploiting that show and telling you what I think about it at the same time.

*If you actually finished the original rant, you will find this changes significantly as it progresses.

18th November – 23rd December 2010
PV Thurs 18th November 6pm
Jota Castro (FR/PE), Graham Dolphin (UK), Sebastian Errazuriz (CL), Rochelle Feinstein
(USA), Tom Gallant (UK), S. Mark Gubb (UK), Michael Joo (USA), Patrick Hamilton (CL),
William Powhida (USA), Walter Robinson (USA), Guy Richards Smit (USA), Lisa
Yuskavage (USA)
These Macedonians are a rude and clownish people that call a spade a spade. – Plutarch
Life is a four-letter word. So is art when pushed past polite boundaries. You don’t have to be Lenny Bruce
to know that the first commandment of comedy is ‘leave half the audience laughing and the other half
horrified.’ Rude art, like rude words, straightens spines and unbuckles straitened belts. Filth frightens,
provokes, angers and just plain disgusts. Sometimes it proves outright liberating. Reason and good sense
often blanch when faced with graffiti on the bathroom wall.
Dirty Kunst is a show with Tourette’s. An exhibition of artists committed to what George Orwell called
significant ‘mental rebellions,’ it lives and breathes according to the idea that there is no such thing as dirty
art, just dirty minds. A rough version of the hippie mandate to ‘speak truth to power,’ the spirit behind this
batch of ‘dirty kunst’ is one that seeks out extreme responses. Cruelty, venality, lubriciousness, perversity,
black humour, misanthropy – all of these count as genuine paths to artistic expression and – why not – a
certain twisted redemption.
About the Curator: Christian Viveros-Fauné is a New York-based writer and curator. He has curated
exhibitions at Mexico’s Museum of Modern Art and Chile’s Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende. He
is the inaugural critic-in-residence 2010-2011 at The Bronx Museum. He writes the Free-Lance column for
ArtReview and criticism for The Village Voice.
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