Courtesy of the arts blog Hyperallergic, today we bring you the artwork of William Powhida. You have just a few more hours to catch his solo show “Bill by Bill” at Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles. If you’re in the area you should definitely make the effort to go: the work is sharp and funny and outspoken in a way that’s rarely seen in a commercial gallery. This review was written by Carolina A. Miranda and originally published on May 21, 2013. You can also check out Daily Serving’s interview with Powhida from last fall and the PDF catalog of “Bill by Bill.”
When Marcel Duchamp submitted his signed urinal to a group exhibition in 1917, he certainly couldn’t have predicted that his decontextualized toilet would represent the dawn of an era in which everything and anything could be “art.” Take some mundane object or action, add word salad — et voilà, you have art. Manipulated photographs aren’t simply manipulated photographs. They are “visual statements that are at once documentary and fictional.”
A painter’s brush strokes don’t come together to form a picture, are textures that “function as proof of past operations.” And a piece of taxidermy isn’t just a stuffed animal. It’s “a state of apparent life premised on actual death.” In the Bermuda Triangle of Art, an object is never an object. It’s a physical vessel with which to deliver heaps of impenetrable prose — prose intended to convince some aspiring patron that the mound of detritus before him is pregnant with meaning (in addition to looking great over the couch).