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Interview with William Powhida | Newsome Rap Joust Embarrasses Everybody | Work of Art Eliminates Artists in High Order

From: artfagcity
Sent on: Thursday, November 10, 2011 10:04 AM
November 10, 2011
 
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Derivatives: An Interview with William Powhida

William Powhida is mean. His acerbic drawings and calculated rant-pieces have built him a reputation in New York's art world as something between a complicit skeptic and a doomsday preacher, decrying the ills of contemporary art even as he steadily climbs its ladder. Last month, he opened a show at Postmasters Gallery – up until November 26th – that turned that same eye onto high finance, politics, and the general state of everything. I visited him in his studio to find out more.

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Slideshow: Maurizio Cattelan's All at The Guggenheim

Who wants to see a bunch of art work hanging in The Guggenheim's Rotunda? Good news for those who do: virtually everything artist Maurizio Cattelan has produced since 1989 is now suspended in air for all to see.

Maurizio Cattelan: All, the first retrospective of the artist's work, marks Cattelan's sort-of retirement from the art world. In the exhibition catalogue, curator Nancy Spector paints Cattelan as a "tragic poet of our times." (Cue lil' Hitler!) Setting that stuff aside, though, it seems that in presenting his life's work this way, Cattelan plays to his reputation as art world prankster. The question, of course, is how seriously we're supposed to take the joke.

Our images from this morning's press preview after the jump. The show opens Friday and runs through January 22nd.

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Rashaad Newsome's Rap Joust Embarrasses Everybody

If Marlborough Gallery had a reputation to worry about, they would be busy doing a lot of damage control for last Wednesday's rap joust, directed by Rashaad Newsome. A real-life manifestation of POWHIDA's mock-douchebag performance a few months back, it was another masturbatory celebration of wealth that sidelined the performers and sincerely made everyone look like VIP douchebags.

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Work of Art is Eliminating Artists in Height Order

Sometime during the first minute of this week's episode of Work of Art, my TV's closed captioning simply said: "[All groaning]". That's a fitting reaction to most of the episode.

No two ways about it: this week was incredibly boring. The challenge (work with kids) was unoriginal, the guest judge (producer Sarah Jessica Parker) was a punt, and the elimination (Tewz) was overdue. There was crying, but no tits. In light of this, we'll stick to a few general observations.

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Creature: An Interview With Haim Steinbach

What do you say to a guy who's most frequently described as the artist who "radically redefined the status of the object in art"? I don't usually get nervous about biography points like this, but I made an exception for Haim Steinbach. Unlike a lot of art, there's no answer key to his angular shelves and arrangement of objects – and that can make a viewer nervous. Certainly, it affected me; it took two anxiety-filled weeks just produce a 700-word review on his show at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery last month, and I still worry about whether I got it right.

Steinbach himself, though, isn't quite so intimidating. Now 67, the New York-based artist seems just as interested in the door hinge next to him as he might be about any given conversation. He's obsessed with objects in the world around him. Recently, we talked about how that intense focus informs his work and thinking.

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#OWS Arts and Culture Group Asks Mark Di Suvero to Speak Against the Barricades in Liberty Park

The Occupy Wall Street Arts and Culture committee has written a formal letter asking artist Mark Di Suvero to make a public statement against the barricades in Liberty Park. His sculpture "Joie de Vivre" is a dominent visual in the Occupy Wall Street protests, situated at the South East corner of Zuccotti Park. The police barricaded the piece after a protestor attempted to climb the piece, effectively detaching it from the rest of the politically activated space. The letter and photo essay to follow.

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Bruce Davidson's Subway at Aperture Foundation

Despite the occasional mad rant or impromptu bathing session, riding the MTA today is generally a much tamer prospect than it was in 1980, when Bruce Davidson began documenting the trains and its passengers. Those efforts resulted in the 1986 monograph Subway, celebrated as a frank depiction of a unique and perhaps infamous moment in New York's history. A third and final edition of the book is now available, and to mark its release, the Aperture Foundation gallery has a selection of prints on view. While the work ultimately contributes little to the conversations driving art photography today, it nonetheless stands as an anomaly in both Davidson's work and the longstanding tradition of subway photography, and as such warrants some discussion.

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Lists About Art Taste Like Gummy Bears and Cure the Blues

The only offensive thing about Halle's list is that it might give people the impression that they've actually learned something. I really hope commenters were being ironic when they applauded the "art history" lesson available from the slideshow captions; apparently some people can't imagine how real art history might differ from a brief paragraph with some fun facts. This list is too brief, too arbitrary, and too thin to gather anyone's attention for more than a few minutes. It is a tremendous success.

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Art Fag City at The L Magazine: Carsten Holler's Slides and Pools at The New Museum

There's a slide ready to be ridden in the New Museum. It's part of Carsten Höller's career survey Experience(through January 15), and it's only one element of a show that takes every device from a traveling carnival except the concession stands.

I don't have any problem with this as an exhibition concept—I like fun—but it doesn't leave me with much to write about it. Experience is more about emptying your mind than it is about contemplating a specific philosophical question, so the kinds of conversations the show tends to inspire will more often revolve around the work than delve into its meaning.

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