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.