It’s hard to read Damien Cave’s excellent story about William Powhida, the artist-satirist, in the New York Times without wondering whether Mr. Powhida’s vitriol is motivated by high standards or resentment.
“I don’t want to blow this place up,” Mr. Powhida said, admitting that he would love to see his own art here as opposed to at Pulse, where his work appeared this year. “A lot of us go back and forth about wanting to destroy this model, and wanting to support it.”
What bothers Mr. Powhida and several others in the art world who declined to be named for fear of offending wealthy collectors is the pre-eminence of money at the expense of work that challenges the artistic and economic status quo. Mr. Powhida described the convention center as a mall for “condo art” — polished works by recognizable names that are the equivalent of a BMW or a Bentley in the driveway. […]
“What I’m expressing is colored by a deep sense of lack,” Mr. Powhida said. His persona in his art is far more crass than he is, but friends sometimes have to protect him from letting too much anger show through. At one point Jennifer Dalton, who collaborated with Mr. Powhida last year on condolence cards for Art Basel — with lines like “all good things come to an end” — stopped him from cracking jokes about the obvious cosmetic enhancements of a collector who happened to love his work.
And inside the convention center he often seemed repulsed by what he saw: the Jeff Koons painting that he said was probably produced by one of that artist’s 120 assistants; the titillation in a Lisa Yuskavage painting, placed on the edge of a booth to draw people in; the art dealers in Corbusier leather chairs.
Tweaking the Big-Money Art World on Its Own Turf (New York Times)