No One Here Gets Out Alive
October 24 - December 5, 2009
Artist's Reception: October 24, 2009, 6-9pm
Show Catalog (pdf, 3.03 Mb)
Charlie James Gallery is well, completely fucked. After a run of solid, well-reviewed shows, we regretfully announce that is over with New York artist William Powhida’s first LA solo show No One Here Gets Out Alive. Admittedly, we agreed to give Powhida a solo show after seeing one drawing at Pulse in New York and thought his sense of humor about art world politics would make a splash in LA. This was a bad idea. Powhida came out here in the spring and presented some ideas about ‘destroying LA’ in his words, which we all laughed off as fodder for the voice of his first person, sycophantic, rage venting rants about perceived injustices in the art world. Or maybe we though Powhida was referencing the fictional perspective of his alter-ego, a coddled, enfant-terrible ‘art star’ also named William Powhida. We don’t know. We got really confused.
Then, we flew Powhida out to LA again to shoot a video for the show. He showed up looking exhausted and spent several days hanging out with some questionable people. At the end of the week he claimed to have produced some sort of ‘movie’ involving the decadent lifestyle of his petulant, narcissistic, and debauched alter-ego. The thing is, we’ve come to believe that Powhida did nothing but spend our money drinking, hanging out at strip clubs, and possibly doing drugs with the ‘actors’ and his so-called producer. In fact, we never saw him filming at all.
All summer we’ve nervously waited for anything from the artist, who dodged most of our calls and failed to reply to our emails unless we put ‘money’, ‘check’, or ‘sale’ in the subject line. Powhida sent us one drawing about how screwed the art world is and basically vanished. Since we couldn’t press another artist into filling the slot on short notice, we held out for some images, video, or correspondence from the artist’s Brooklyn studio.
Finally, we got a fucking leg (sorry) in the mail with vague instructions about installing it in a ‘filthy’ claw foot bathtub. We were frightened. Then a cardboard box showed up filled up with articles, press releases, lists, maps, charts, and letters documenting an insane narrative about ‘William Powhida’ being acquired by the Broad Art Foundation, destroying part of the collection, being impersonated by an actor, and then disappearing. The whole thing suggests something terrible may have happened to the artist, but we don’t really know. We’ve not heard from him since, except for a trailer about a film by Steven Soderbergh that showed up via courier a few days ago. Frankly, we don’t know what to make of any of it, and hope that you won’t take any of it seriously or judge us too harshly for fulfilling our agreement to exhibit the artist. His other galleries are threatening us to go through with this. We are really sorry, in advance, for any trouble that this show may cause.
Special apologies to Eli Broad, Michael Govan (and everyone at LACMA), Jeff Koons, John Baldessari, Christopher Knight, Javier Peres, Steven Soderbergh, Mickey Rourke, New Line Cinema, The Sunset Marquis, Tony’s Restaurant, TMZ, 944 Magazine, the LA Weekly, and the City of Los Angeles.