Holi is the Hindu festival of colors. It celebrates the coming of spring, fruitful harvests, unity, joy, and a tale from the Bhagavad Gita. In addition to the throwing of colored powder (Holi Gulal) it is traditional to light bonfires in celebration of the miraculous escape that young devotee of the god Vishnu. A demon tried to throw him into a fire, but he escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. In most areas, Holi lasts about two days. One of Holi’s biggest customs is the loosening strictness of social structures, which normally include age, sex, status, and caste. Holi closes the wide gaps between social classes and brings Hindus together. Together, the rich and poor, women and men, enjoy each other’s presence on this joyous day. Additionally, Holi lowers the strictness of social norms. No one expects the decorum of normal life; as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement and joy.
HAZMAT MODINE draws from the rich soil of American music of the 20’s and 30’s through to the 50’s and early 60’s, blending elements of early Blues, Hokum Jugband, Swing, Klezmer, New Orleans R & B, and Jamaican Rocksteady. The band is fronted by two harmonicas which use call and response, harmony, melody, and syncopated interweaving rhythms. The band includes tuba, guitar, and percussion, claviola and Hawaiian steel guitar. The band’s sound reflects musical influences ranging from Avant-garde Jazz to Rockabilly and Western Swing to Middle-Eastern, African, and Hawaiian musical styles.
Famous for his brazen critique of the art world William Powhida
asks if his presence in a gallery space is enough to qualify as a credible exhibit. POWHIDA,
on view at Marlborough Chelsea till August twelfth, strips the gallery down to nothing but the artist himself, a leather couch, two leather chairs, a coffee table, a mini fridge for beer, and a painting by Tom Sanford called “Portrait of a Genius” which shows William Powhida releasing a dove with a bottle of liquor in his right hand and a woman at his feet.
With the success of the show riding on his star power William Powhida attempted at the opening reception to grandstand presumably in parody of art celebrities. Chauffeured in a black convertible Mercedes-Benz into the gallery whose glass facade had been retracted Powhida then commenced for the most part to drink champagne and beer on the aforementioned leather couch flanked by girls before being again chauffeured out of the gallery later that evening.
“The gallery is a world unto itself” William Powhida in the show’s press release states “a social space with a highly codified set of relationships having the formal beauty of a ballet.”
On my visit to the show I was surprised to find Powhida drinking beer and playing chess with two friends. He was very amenable offering to pose in a photograph with me which I accepted. Squatting just beside the portrait by Tom Sanford a man was scraping paint from the gallery floor. Asking if I could take his picture Powhida quickly interjected saying that the gentleman was nothing more than a paintbrush and no need to ask his permission for a pic. Self-consciousness though made Powhida’s importunity unconvincing. Leaving the show I wished the artist best of luck with his endeavors.
Bad boy image aside creatively William Powhida’s talents are endless and his moxie refreshing. With prescience his artwork has the potential to shine a more telling light on the art world than his current critical gestures strive to do. Invariably with Powhida it’s the difference between court jester and crown prince.
558 St. Johns Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238
map and directions
Thursday through Sunday
from 1 to 6 p.m.
March 26 – May 6, 2011
Group Show, curated by Ward Mintz
Emily Barletta, Sandy Benjamin-Hannibal
Denise Burge ,Elisa D’Arrigo
Linnea Glatt, Janet Henry
Cyrilla Mozenter, Jessica Rankin
Laura Splan, Anna Von Mertens