For more than a decade Powhida’s work has provided a satirical, political, and sometimes despairing window into his own experience of New York’s contemporary art market. Beneath it all, he has also been tracing the outline of another, more ambitious project as he tries to answer—for himself, his peers, and the world in general—what is the strange, slippery, sometimes contradictory and farcical thing we call “Contemporary Art.” Is Contemporary Art a specific period of art history, like Modern Art? If so, what are its characteristics? Will we know when it’s over? And more importantly, what does Contemporary Art suggest about the future of society?
The less than reliable curatorial voice from Powhida’s future proposes an authoritative account of our present and near future through institutional forms—wall texts, videos, an exhibition catalogue, as well as fictional works of art, speculative drawings, and research-based diagrams, that point to the ways exhibitions shape and reflect histories. Specifically, the exhibition examines the role of the art market in defining the Contemporary through the presentation of a new gallery model for art fairs that emerged in the early twentieth century as a “period room,” within an alternative future wing of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum which has had to make certain adjustments due to global ecological and economic turmoil. William Powhida (b. 1976, New York, NY) received his BFA in Painting with Honors from Syracuse University in 1998 and his MFA in Painting from Hunter College in 2002. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Postmasters Gallery, New York; Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles; Casa Maauad, Mexico City; Gallery Paulsen, Copenhagen; and Marlborough Gallery, New York. In addition to being an artist, Powhida is an active critic and writer whose work has been published in The Art Newspaper, Creative Time Reports, ArtFCity, Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail, and Artnet. He lives and works in New York City. A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition. Organized by Richard Klein, exhibitions director, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.
Generous funding for William Powhida: After the Contemporary is provided by The Stolbun Collection, Raymond Learsy, Seymour and Carol Cole Levin, Kim and Larry Heyman, Noah McCormack, Cebert S.J. Noonan, and Janet Phelps. Major funding for exhibitions is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; and Crozier. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.
Top image: William Powhida, After the Contemporary (installation view), 2017; Courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery.