POWHIDA Is a VIP Douchebag

by Hrag Vartanian on July 28, 2011

The point of last night’s Marlborough Gallery show, POWHIDA, is probably that there are too many douchebags in the world, especially the art world. The character named Powhida entered the street-level Chelsea gallery in a classic car that drove through the front window — which retracted — of the gallery up to a large sheet of paper with his name written in ALL CAPS in what looked like Helvetica.

He walked over to a roped off VIP area after a stop at the absinthe bar and then proceeded to sit there eating Starbursts and champagne. I am sad to report that there was no cocaine. No one was allowed to sit on the Le Corbusier leather furniture, not even an old woman who tried to sit and was soon removed by security. At one point during the performance, Powhida the character spilled champagne on his sleeve and his handler used his jacket to soak up the bubbly.

In the background, there was a painting by Tom Sanford that looked like it was painted by Dr. Jack Kevorkian. It was garish and over stylized.

Just before I left, I yelled at Powhida, “Your show sucks!” He replied, “Thanks.”

We went to the after party and like all official after parties, it was meh.

Powhida is on until August 12 at Marlborough Chelsea (545 West 25th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan).

And now some entertaining tweets from the night, including some of my own:!/Powhida/status/96257747997302784!/hragv/status/96333589825863680!/Powhida/status/96334864088965121!/Ruschka/status/96363202895552519!/uberkunst/status/96277412677029889!/Powhida/status/96353966639685632!/TwoCoats/statuses/96359319095877632!/MrPrivileged/status/96366082788556800!/Powhida/status/96354794205229057!/Powhida/status/96356801624289280!/nateXhill/status/96374737269305344!/hragv/status/96357089240285184!/JuliaGleich/status/96359954058985472!/hragv/status/96353438161584130!/hragv/status/96360487314403328!/jandrewARTS/status/96362859071680512!/JuliaGleich/status/96378215622389760!/HeartAsArena/statuses/96437447482814464!/museumnerd/status/96415936281710592!/sarajoromero/statuses/96441052512256000!/Powhida/statuses/96441535649955840!/sarajoromero/statuses/96442085556756482

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  • Wow.  Lots of douche bags.  In the art world at that?  My mind is being blown. 

  • No coke? Not even at the after-party? Wow, somebody’s likely to lose their job.

  • “… in what looked like helvetica.” is hilarious.

  • What’s funny about this is that Bill Powhida is a dick in real life, a terrible person who considers himself important, treats people like dirt, and constantly says retarded things for effect. Here he is a real-life douchebag, playing someone we’re supposed to believe is NOT a douchebag, playing a douchebag. THAT is the real art here. We’re looking at THREE layers.

  • Alanis just got schooled in both irony and lame cliches

  • Morgan Croney

    ha, I was wondering who yelled that. I’m assuming the large crowd had to do with the fact that there were no other openings in Chelsea that night.

  • Den Hickey

    ah, nothing about art thats not even about art, but about the art scene itself.

  • mariuswatz

    People snort coke and fuck strippers every day, probably every minute even. A lot of them are douchebags. So are a lot of artists. Why this project is worthy of mention is beyond me. Pablo Helguera’s art world satire is way funnier and much more insightful.

  • I really like Powhida’s satire usually, but this is boring. It is to vague to be important, and too over the top to be interesting.

  • Ha – sounds like a Hollywood version of a bad art opening, like the scene in Dinner for Schmucks!

  • kgunette

    So….why is it that we need Powhida to point out that there are douchebags in the art world? Is it really _that_ hidden? This “project” is weak.

  • Romanapainter

    Reward the talentless assholes…Let’s all of us who are artists just tell people that we are plumbers or electricians when they ask us what we do. Better ring to it these days.

  • John Tomlinson

    It’s all about getting laid. Pow Pow just wants to get some.

  • this may be a wee bit off topic but I’m pretty sure douche bag is 2 words

    • In Webster’s it is two words but they also list website as two words. We’re just trying to help evolve the language ;)

  • Liam Drain

    I should probably preface all my comments by disclosing that I am a backward rube from Oregon and both times I’ve been to NY I’m one of those dummies looking around like, “skyscrappers and everything!”. That said, this guy’s commentary on art is about as compelling as editorial cartoons from a trade journal about rubber manufacturing. And he swears too much on twitter.

  • Prior to this mini-spectacle, I wasn’t a fan of Powhida’s work.  Nothing personal– he has every right to make/say whatever he feels like– I just never connected with it enough to care. I have to admit though that I found this opening(?) to be entertaining, *probably* in the way that the artist intended.  Actually like him more now, after this event.

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