Events

Photos from William Powhida’s “Surviving the Art World … ”

by Hrag Vartanian on May 17, 2010

One of the reasons we’re happy with our inaugural event :)

Over 30 people attended our Friday night performance by artist William Powhida titled “Surviving the Art World Using the Art of Sorcery.” The first in our monthly lecture/performance/screening/event series, Powhida was able to explain the concept of value in the art world and the unexplored role of “magic.”

In addition to the IRL crowd, over a hundred people (at various times during the event) tuned in online to watch Powhida and his two fabulous assistants (or are they apprentices?) conjure up spells and hexes. To ensure that all went smoothly, IRL guests were asked to encircle themselves with what appeared to be salt.

As a stipulation for all Hyperallergic HQ events, I asked Powhida to start his lecture with a 5 – 10 minute video to set the mood. He chose Kenneth Anger’s “Lucifer Rising, Pt. 1” (19??).

While some technical difficulties (a suddenly bad Internet connection) initially stalled the live webcast, the quick thinking of Hyperallergic publisher & self-confessed marketing/tech geek Veken Gueyikian saved the day — everything went smoothly after that.

There were some secrets revealed … including that in the world of art sorcery Larry “Gogo” Gagosian vomits fire, blogger/publisher Barry Hoggard and galleryist Ed Winkleman are munificent spirits, and artists need to leave chalk talismans outside galleries. Coincidentally, potential art sorcerers (or sorceresses, I assume) will also be interested to know that there is a talisman to get paid for your art in 90 days, and another to ward of anonymous Internet trolls or annoying bloggers.

As expected, Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dogs are art world demons, and, in one of his most illuminating moments, Powhida pointed out that “art world hexes are like modern ‘memes.’ They spread outward.”

He also shared an anecdote about Dana Schutz’s “Presentation” (2005) painting, which he saw at PS1’s Greater New York show a few years ago. He said that he had never seen a painting so big in his life and at that moment he realized where all the oil paint in New York had gone (though I mistakenly tweeted it was the “Death of Michael Jackson” (2005) painting, oh well).

Photographer Miss Maro generously covered the event for Hyperallergic and her photos below give you a colorful picture of the night. We also video recorded the event and will post the video in the next few days.

William Powhida begins to weave his tale of magic (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Trying to figure out where the magic lives (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Guests ensure they are protected by the evil spirits lurking about (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

The tale continues … (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Powhida seems stunned by the extent of his magical powers (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Granular shapes being added (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

One guest decides a circle isn’t enough. (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Powhida gives us a glimpse at the future of art sorcery. (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

The hexes don’t stop. (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

A view of the room. (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Artist Jennifer Dalton (left) wonders if Powhida has placed a curse on her (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

James Kalm (foreground) needs to get it all on video (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Post-event mingling (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Powhida continues to convince us that art sorcery is the only true path (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Performance assistant/apprentice Jessie Petersen wonders if she’s doomed. (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

Powhida shows us how to really survive the art world (photo by Miss Maro, all rights reserved) (click to enlarge)

The next day at Hyperallergic HQ (photo by the author) (click to enlarge)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zachary-Adam-Cohen/761572845 Zachary Adam Cohen

    what a great premiere event in this series! despite the momentary technical glitch you guys did a great job and I think this sets the stage for even better evenings in the months ahead!

  • http://newcleanblog@blogspot.com Lawrence Swan

    Powhida did a good job. I was worried I’d have to jump up like Dalí did at the first public showing of one of Joseph Cornell’s films and accuse him of stealing ideas from my mind, and was glad that wasn’t the case. I liked hearing the story of his recent work and how it became a hot topic. I think you should require every performer/lecturer to begin with a Kenneth Anger film.

  • Victoria

    1972 was the Anger film. Too bad he fired Jimmy Page from working on the soundtrack. Alchemy is noted as a part of the painting process in James Elkins’ books.

    Are we sure that’s just salt?

  • http://newcleanblog.blogspot.com/ Lawrence Swan

    The actor in the film is Bobby Beausoleil, a Manson family member who was convicted of a drug deal-related murder committed before the better known crime. He’s been in prison since 1969. Is there a message in this choice of video? Powhida looks like Pacino’s Scarface when he became really unhinged and was “hoovering” up cocaine. Talk about Hooverville. What kind of operation is this Hyperallergic?

  • http://c-monster.net c-mon

    i hope some pigeons were ritually killed. because unless pigeons are ritually killed, none of this stuff works. you also need a jar of fresh honey and coconut. just sayin’.

    • http://hragv.com Hrag Vartanian

      That was all reserved for the after-after-party.

      • http://c-monster.net c-mon

        whew. you’re clear then…

  • http://escapefromnewyork.tumblr.com Olympia

    Hey!!! #efny had a ton of dead pigeons (both real and in the art!)
    :)
    I am positive we still have some feathers left from the cleanup somewhere…

  • Pingback: Magicality, Irrascible Assholes, and Sorcery – William Powhida()

  • Anonymous

    Marianne Faithfull played the lead female role in “Lucifer Rising”… http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066019/
    Many of Anger’s films deal with occult or magickal topics. Perhaps his most mystical in terms of subject matter and casting is “Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome”, which included Marjorie Cameron (wife of Magickian John Whiteside Parsons of CalTech/JPL and Aerojet fame) and Anias Nin, and uses Janácek’s “Galolitic Mass” as a soundtrack–the same music Parsons used in his seminal “Babalon Working”…I’m an MFA grad student, and this topic (magic/magick in art) has recently become a bit of a hot topic in one of my surveys. I’ll definitely stay tuned to Powhida’s work in this direction. Very interesting…

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