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William Powhida

by Charlie Finch
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What does it say about the art community that a derivative, no-talent turkey can create a sensation by reviving an old Andy Warhol trick to impress young morons and get a lot of summer press attention for doing nothing original? It says that a guy I have never previously bothered to think about (see his name above) can commandeer a gallery like Marlborough Chelsea and a pretty great painter named Tom Sanford (Tom, why?) to rip off Andy's famous college trick from 1966 of sending out Allen Midgette to pretend to be Warhol, and act like he is a genius or something.

This "genius" first got attention by ripping off the brilliant cartoon commentary of Ad Reinhardt, which poked fun at the art world 50 years ago, with a dose of Mark Lombardi, copping the riffs of two true innovators in an ugly, chicken-scratch style, which also ripped off Erik Parker's fantastic painting maps of the art world from the 1990s. Rippy, rippy, rippy . . . and the kids just out of art school, whose brains have been sucked dry of any original abilities of their own, desperate for a scene, drink it up.

Meanwhile, the wealthiest galleries passively collaborate with the art press -- and God, the New York Times -- to dump all sorts of irony and fey tropes about the unseriousness of the art world into this one man sinkhole, knowing that he will never really discover any "truth" or have any power over anything but his own press coverage and the delusion that he made it all up himself.

I'd like to put a piece of tracing paper over his smug, useless face and say, "Draw this, baby doll!" -- for Powhida, power is limp, wet and useless.

“POWHIDA,” July 27-Aug. 12, 2011, Marlborough Chelsea, 545 West 25th Street, New York, N.Y., 10001.

CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).