Text as Art in Orange County
Evoking his background as an art critic, William Powhida’s text-based drawings and prints offer humorous (and ruthless) critique of the art world. This satirical checklist for a panel discussion about art blogging includes bullet points like “will anyone ever get paid?” and in-joke references to fellow arts writers.
Once described as an “artist-cartoonist-flamethrower” by New York Magazine’s art critic Jerry Saltz, William Powhida parodies the hypocrisies and vanities of the high-art establishment through his alter-ego, also known as William Powhida. “The art world,” he has said, “is already divided into unknowns, emerging, established, mid-career, international artists, and according to what graduate program you went to, who you’re friends with and your social pedigree. It’s more like a high-school cafeteria.” Powhida’s institutional critique takes the form of satirical drawings and, more recently, performance. He came to the art world’s attention in 2009 with a diagram published in the Brooklyn Rail that lambasted the New Museum for exhibiting the collection of one of its own trustees. Art Basel Miami Beach Hooverville (2010) depicts the art world as a corrupt, teeming slum, while What Do Prices Reflect? (2011), which lists a skewed rationale for deciding an artwork’s value, reads, “Whether or not the work will impress your cultured friends…A highly ritualized exercise in shared delusions…The informal collusion of taste in a statistically insignificant % of the population.”
American, b. 1976, Saratoga Springs, New York, based in Brooklyn, New York