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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Post-Opening Malaise

Wow, thanks to everyone who made it out last night for the opening of my second solo show with Schroeder Romero.  The reception was amazing, and watching people pour over my painting, "Relational Wall" was a blast.  I'm humbled by the intense reactions people had with the show, and it was wonderful to hear feedback from real people with names and faces.  My anonymous hater really doesn't have a clue what it's like to produce this work and the level of identification people have with it.  While it's one thing to toss anonymous stones at me, I prefer to heave cinder blocks into the system with my name scrawled across them.  Ed Winkleman and Paige West continue to be huge supporters of my work, and in particular their ability to see it in the broader context of the art world.   Ed continues to admire Dana Schutz's paintings which have never really been part of the critique.  I've just been fascinated with the way painting continues to re-invent itself as the standard bearer of contemporary art despite the continuous critical and theoretical assault on Modernism and traditional aesthetics.  With Schutz it's also the way her work skyrocketed in value, even as her most recent show looks markedly like someone trying to develop a new language.  I don't envy the pressure to continue to produce half-million dollar paintings and find room to grow.  While I continue to deal with similar themes in my new show as the last one two years ago, there are different modes of representation from the "Relational Wall" to my narrative series "Withdrawal" that continue to explore new aspects of narrative in art.  Plus, I never expected to have as much success as I've had, so I'm always a little surprised to continue to have opportunities to exhibit and explore the ways in which we construct value in the art world.  Last night was something of a balm for the self-doubt I always feel about getting specific with my work.  Thanks to Thomas, Tom, Josh, Jen, Max, Lisa, Sara Jo, Jade, and Bill for helping me get the show together at various points along the way.  

31 comments:

TR Remsen said...

Good job Bill!! Congrats!!

Anonymous said...

I saw your show, even said hello at the opening, thought I'd take you up on the challenge to see it in person. I kept an open mind, but really this is the same show as last time.

Anonymous said...

and being that everyone has better things to care about then the end of the art world, this show is even less relevant this time around. I like you personally, and can't tell you this to your face since it's harsh and I enjoy our relationship - but your work is stuck. Thought I'd speak your language with some sarcastic bites on your blog in the voice of a stranger looking at your work - but you take it too personally. This is about the work.
Or just skip this comment, keep doing what your doing and only read TR Remsen.

Edward_ said...

Come now, Anonymous...don't be so modest. You're offering your critique in a spirit of generosity...or so you'd have us believe. Take credit for it. Convince us you have at least enough conviction in your opinion to sign your name to it.

You're not speaking Bill's language, as you claim, unless you have the cajones (or heuvos) to own your opinions publicly like he does. Indeed, the distance between the two approaches is so wide it renders your gesture truly meaningless in this context.

(by the way, Bill, the word verification for this post was "Genet"...my favorite author...nice little surprise).

Congrats on a bold and truly hysterical exhibition!

William said...

You're not speaking Bill's language, as you claim, unless you have the cajones (or heuvos) to own your opinions publicly like he does. Indeed, the distance between the two approaches is so wide it renders your gesture truly meaningless in this context.Edward,

Thank you for reading my mind and saying what I was thinking in regards to the delivery of this critique. It is not as if I am unaware of the difference between repetition and reiteration (or perhaps nuance). It makes me sad, though, that the person who is writing this fails to see (or read) my own struggle to find a balance between experimentation and being an artist in the commercial gallery system in the show. There are crushing expectations that everything will always be as good or in some cases the same every time. I've hounded other artists who deliver the same thing time in and time out, ala Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close, Raymond Pettibone, but I also realize it takes years to build a substantial body of work.

At the end of the withdrawal texts is a line that reads Maybe I'm just not DRUNK, but it's more than that. I feel freed from the PRESSURE to be William Powhida, G-E-N-I-U-S and just be William Powhida, artist. I'm just not sure what an artist does anymore.Whoever my anonymous acquaintance is (a friend might know TR Remsen is my cousin doing what family does) has let me down by skimming and not realizing that their contention is one of the major parts of the text, as well as for any artist recognized for a particular way of working, unless we're talking about Kostabi, who was at the opening for some reason.

I hate having to defend what I do, but here I am talking to the ether instead of a person. I feel like I'm on the end of a utopian graduate school crit here where reality is divorced from the conversation.

Anonymous said...

Oh willy, your so sensitive. So funny you mention an art school crit. I remember people quoting texts in art school crits to avoid discussing a lack of content (or the problem of an art work being simply illustrative), just like you do. Quoting a text is often the surest sign of a stupid artist (or at least a very insecure one). It's like a middle aged man buying a sports car to show he's sexy. It fools no one.
I never said I was being generous. I don't like your work. I think it's shallow and annoying, and now repetitive. I really can't believe what a little girl you are, you throw so much stupid shit around, and think it's all ok since you call it art and sign your name. Then when one little blogger posts a comment you start welling up with tears. We are the same, just that my name is Anonymous and yours is William Powhida and I don't call what I do art.


my verify work is Repti. repetition(sp)?

William said...

It's clear you don't like my work, anony. That's fine, and like the quotes, you are completely without context. Thus the "surest sign of a stupid artist" no?
It fooled you into revealing how you really feel about the work, thus the sour grapes.
I'm going to get my hanky!
Enjoy your lack of candor and continue to feel free to like me personally and enjoy our relationship.
Peace out asshole, I'll be at Iona all afternoon and early evening 'welling up' er, enjoying a week off. Stop by and really be harsh.
And by sad, I mean it's sad you even bother to say hello. Your utter lack of a sense of humor justifies the necessity of mine.

Anonymous said...

Lack of sense of Humor? I think I am quite funny. In fact, I am laughing right now. Better call it art fast and see if I can get a dealer. I can't believe you don't know who I am yet. I don't understand how you fooled me, but that's ok since you are such a genius I probably will never get it. You must admit that using smart quotes is a lame cover up for a dumb artist. It's an old hiding trick.

Anonymous said...

PS. Disliking your work = utter lack of a sense of humor? I think not. Another lame defense move. I am moving on for now. Be back in a few weeks.

Edward_ said...

Disliking your work = utter lack of a sense of humor?No, but droning on like this endlessly behind your anonymous curtain does make you look positively dickless. Just saying.

TR Remsen said...

Ahh... the material for a new song is a plenty now, thanks for the inspiration everyone!!!

Anonymous said...

Eddy, What makes you think I am a man? The ladies don't all love Willy. Willy's been droning on with his shtick way longer then my few posts. And I'd be willing to bet Willy knows who I am by now.

Anonymous said...

p.p.s. I am not Cary, but she does seem bright. OK last post. By by willy.

This Broad said...

Anonymous hater, I call bullshit. If you really liked powhida "personally" his success wouldn't go up your ass a mile, even if you didn't like his show. The word "frenemy" was invented for people like you. Why do you care so much? His work clearly brings up some freaky issues for you which could be better resolved at the shrink's office.

PS it's clear you're a guy because no woman (or, for that matter, no gentleman) would call a guy a "little girl" as a dis. LAME.

Anonymous said...

Sure, It brings up issues. It's cheaper posting here then talking to my shrink - plus I get the added bonus of being able to throw a little back at Willy. I dislike his work, I think it's juvenile, conceptually vacant and worst of all, redundant. The issue it brings up is, why does such a shitty artist have a gallery and get to make stupid work about artists I like. I don't think we're friends, or even frenemy's. I think we're art world acquaintances with a history. My Gender issues are complicated. I'm not ready to Crying Game it all over this blog quite yet.

qi peng said...

Seriously, I would like to give props to my friend Powhida who is risking life and limb to interconnect all the playas in the contemporary art world. Basically it's a much more colorful version of Mark Lombardi's huge ass drawings if he had decided to add figurative elements into the "flowcharts."

People may condemn his work as being repetitious but of course, that's not the case. Perhaps it's because the same damn people show up at the parties too often, eh. I find Powhida's work much more psychologically satisfying than blowing a wad into the latest issue of the superoverpriced Art in America that costs as much as an issue of Penthouse.

So really, anon, unless you can break down the science in the Powhida's diagram, I would reconsider your lack of critical analysis worth name dropping in 1-2 paragraphs.

Powhida, great shit on the wall and it's too bad I can't be at the show physicially. But my ghost is over there and can't wait for the 2nd resurrection of your next solo at S and R.

thanks man... signed, qi peng

Anonymous said...

Mark Lombardi did work about serious things, not just wanting to be in the art world. Mark didn't make work just to get the attention of his subjects. His work grew with time, Willys shrinks. You only need to see Willy's once to get it. He adds nothing new. Just more boring self absorbed loser bull shit and a boring subject.

If you people stop edging me on, I'll stop posting, but I must have the last word (at least until Anonymous posting is shut down by the man himself).
Even I am boring myself now (this must be how Willy feels after doing the same show again)

TR Remsen said...

Thanks for more material for my music, wow this is awesome, social, and educational.

Anonymous said...

i enjoy bill's work, and also reading the above criticisms which are well-written and funny and do not seem an inappropriate response to bill's work.

"You're not speaking Bill's language, as you claim, unless you have the cajones (or heuvos) to own your opinions publicly like he does."

i don't buy ed's defense. isn't a big part of bill's work that it is all said by a character with the same name? it seems like i have read bill distance himself from things he has said in the work by emphasizing that it was said by the character.

Lisa said...

I would like to interject as Bills dealer here and say that I find it disturbing that people first of all will not own up and identify themselves if they wish to criticize or be a part of this discussion.
I first became aware of William via his amazing writings for the Brooklyn Rail. Some of the most brilliant critiques I have ever read. When I finally was able to do a studio visit I was floored at what he was saying in his work. Nobody had the balls to turn a mirror on the art world as he did/does. He says what no one will. This exhibition is very different than the last. He sobers up and really sees things for how they are. He addresses the crash and crisis. It is a critique about how vapid the art world really is. His work is incredibly smart and humorous. I sense a failed, bitter artist in our midst anon. At least have the balls to say it to his face with a name attached.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa - Give me a show! I am way better then Willy. Check out my comments above - I am sure I can get the Brooklyn Rail to print them. Changes in the art world he's lusting after does not mean changes in the art work. This is still lower then art about art, it's art about the art world, and uninsightful work at that. Unimportant.

BTW, Thank you defender "April 16, 2009 7:30 PM". If you'd like to meet me for a drink, I'll be at the same bar as Willy, all week, enjoying myself. I'll be wearing a T-shirt that says "Art" on it.

Please stop forcing me to post here. Just ignore me and I'll go away (a wish I think many people have for Willy). We are both just annoy gnats, that think people swatting at us is a real interaction.

William said...

Anon,

Just so you know, I'll never turn off the anonymous comment thread, because then you wouldn't have a platform to express your valued opinions. It appears you don't have a gallery so, I'm sorry, but this is the best I can do for you. If you'd like a studio visit, I'd be happy to take a look at your work. I am also sorry you don't have any representation. You could also ask Stephen and Blake at Platform. They might be interested in your work, since it's better than mine and they obviously show me. Didn't you make it to the show in September? Oh, no, I didn't see you there. Maybe you'll make the trip to Germany to see some of my work that you missed in London in Frankfurt. We can travel together.

And, since I will continue to post regularly on my blog, I'll always make sure I leave just a little repetitious remark so that you will have to keep coming back again and again to get in your last word. I want to see that you are continuing to follow my work with such keen interest and offer such sharp insights into my practice. And if you should ever quit, I'll just keep it going myself. After all, I'm just a fictional character like yourself. How do you feel about making my work for me? It's like having an extra set of hands to shit on the art world with since most of the good work out there, like yours, seems to go unrecognized. You must be a genius, otherwise someone would've already acknowledged your brilliance. In the end, we are exactly the same person. See you soon and thanks for all your help. I couldn't have done all this without you. I'll put in a good word with Lisa and Sara Jo, they are so eager to meet you and see your work.

Your friend,

William

Edward_ said...

i don't buy ed's defense. isn't a big part of bill's work that it is all said by a character with the same name? it seems like i have read bill distance himself from things he has said in the work by emphasizing that it was said by the character.That only truly distances him from the (fictional) tone of the comments, not the eventual critique. Bill signs his real name to the work (hence, critique). The anonymous commenter in this thread is trying to have it both ways: offer a critique but not own up to it. It's cowardly and, inasmuch as a critique offers only true value when you can ascertain the reviewer's point of view, masturbatory.

TR Remsen said...

Bill, I must say thanks to you, and all the people here (friends, acquaintances, etc.), for all this information to utilize for my musical inspiration. I love blogs!

kalm james said...

Video to come! (Unfortunately I’m facing a logjam of editing.) Double feature, Jennifer Dalton (she got bashful) and William Powhida, with a grimy interview of William discussing “institutional critique” at the after party.

TR Remsen said...

Awesome James cannot wait!!! By the way big props and kudos to all the hard work you do man!! Also big props to all the great artists in this scene!!!

Anonymous said...

hi willy - i didn't forget about you - i just was spending a sunny hampton weekend with all your friends over at art fag city. we started a club. not really. I just don't have enough energy to keep up the hate. i am so bored, so tired, too much party, too much william, must stop. good luck with your "art" see you real soon.
xoxo
william powhida

William said...

You know Anon, I think you've really made me think. Maybe you helped me verbalize all my doubts. You really helped me move on. I am so glad you gave me all the attention. I just wish it was more positive. But hey, it's better then being ignored. I hope to have a new idea for some Art soon (note the capital A!).
Your Friend,
William.

Anonymous said...

p.s. ethical eddy, your a fool. saying something nasty is not nice, it doesn't matter if you sign your name or not. it's like saying "excuse me" before slapping someone, or asking for forgiveness after intentionally killing someone's cat. self awareness does not change a negative action. but of course I can have it both ways - I am fictional, but that doesn't mean you and willy can.

Anonymous said...

anon-you are a coward. Call up Bill's "primary" dealers in Seattle and complain......we are over it here in NY.

Paddy Johnson said...

I'm really not a fan of unmoderated comments for this reason. I don't think this thread was constructive for the artist.