Postmasters is pleased to present Overculture an exhibition of new works by William Powhida. The show will include paintings, sculptures, drawings, lists and charts.
1.a small cultural group (artists) within the larger culture, often affirming the beliefs or interests of the ruling class (collectors).
"The two parties thus engage in an uneasy courtship around unspoken divisions and unacknowledged aspirations, where each seeks the perceived (and performed) freedoms of the other." -David Geers
1. a negative or ambivalent feeling about culture often in relation to socio-economic conditions.
"If art comes from everywhere and everyone thinks differently, why does so much of what we see these days look the same?" -Jerry Saltz
"We have a great big art world with a lot of stupid people in it. It's just about sales. We don't do negative reviews. We love everything. It's all mainstream. Look at what's out there. I don't think that's good, but that's the way it is." -Dave Hickey, semi-retired art critic
Recognition of overculture is necessary to avoid misidentifying it as subculture (marked by resistance to ruling class values). Overculture and its capital may be identified as the cultural knowledge and commodities traded between members of the overculture, raising their status and helping differentiate themselves from the majority culture or resistant subcultures.
The sphere of the visual arts has increasingly become associated with overculture in a market-oriented ontology where price functions as the sign of absolute cultural value (Art) that subordinates all other relative cultural values (creative labor). The principle form of judgment in overculture is an expression of capital through the market. Price functions as a single variable for the success (or failure) for the participants in the exchange (artist to collector, seller to buyer, reporter to public).
"The danger here is less that this art promotes an illusory autonomy or cynically concedes to the market than that it reveals the discourse of art as now consisting of nothing but the market." -David Geers
Overculture poses significant challenges to the visual arts. It proposes that art no longer has any role in theoretically resisting the 'superior' values of the ruling class and market-orientation has turned it into a closed system of exchange between members that ceases to be relevant to the larger culture.
"Want to see a very big show of very bad art? Sure you do, to be up on present trends in bigness and badness...Gigantic in scale and pipsqueak in imagination, the show must be seen to be properly disbelieved. You'll want to talk about it." -Anonymous Critic, New Yorker
William Powhida is an artist and activist based in New York. This is his second show at Postmasters.