William Powhida: After the Contemporary, a fictive review of today’s art world from the year 2050, is Powhida’s first solo museum exhibition and will draw from a variety of academic, curatorial, philosophical, and sociological sources, as well as the genre of speculative fiction.
For more than a decade Powhida’s work has provided a satirical, political, and sometimes despairing window into his own experience of New York’s contemporary art market. Beneath it all, he has also been tracing the outline of another, more ambitious project as he tries to answer—for himself, his peers, and the world in general—what is the strange, slippery, sometimes contradictory and farcical thing we call “Contemporary Art.” Is Contemporary Art a specific period of art history, like Modern Art? If so, what are its characteristics? Will we know when it’s over? And more importantly, what does Contemporary Art suggest about the future of society?
The less than reliable curatorial voice from Powhida’s future proposes an authoritative account of our present and near future through institutional forms—wall texts, videos, an exhibition catalogue, as well as fictional works of art, speculative drawings, and research-based diagrams, that point to the ways exhibitions shape and reflect histories. Specifically, the exhibition examines the role of the art market in defining the Contemporary through the presentation of a new gallery model for art fairs that emerged in the early twentieth century as a “period room,” within an alternative future wing of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum which has had to make certain adjustments due to global ecological and economic turmoil.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.