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Artists William Powhida
William Powhida (US)

William Powhida_America_2017_graphite, colored pencil, and acrylic on paper mounted on aluminum_114 x 140 cm_45 x 55 in_800.jpg
 "America" 2017, graphite, colored pencil, and acrylic on paper mounted on aluminum, 114 x 140 cm, 45 x 55 in
"The art world isn't quite as separate from the rest of the world as you might imagine, although it may seem rather alien to outsiders. What happens in the art world from the spectacle of the Miami Art Fairs to the proliferation of biennials is representative of a particular set of values and preferences, our global elite. As the International Art English of the art press release reveals with its acrobatic and impenetrable language, these values are embodied and performed by everyone looking to participate in the art world. It is within and through these systems of distribution, production, and reception of art that I create forms of oppositional critique.

Relying on humor, satirical analysis and performative parody, my work draws attention to the vertiginous and absurd paradoxes of the art world's social and political values. Art is a radical concept embedded in a deeply conservative social order based on growing wealth inequality that belies the art world's progressive self-image. Using the art market to deliver this criticism further reveals art's dependence on the concentrated wealth of our global elite, who are after all, the subject of my critique. As critic Clement Greenberg noted in 1939 "The paradox is real," but the crucial difference today is that the elite is not rapidly shrinking as Greenberg observed, it is in fact growing wealthier. This unbridled accumulation of capital poses an existential threat to democratic institutions across the globe. Art should respond to that threat."

William Powhida

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