If you want to see who’s fighting in the art world, visit the Freight + Volume gallery on West 24th Street and walk straight to the back.
There you’ll find a giant drawing, Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes, the latest collaboration of artists William Powhida and Jade Townsend. The title translates as “war of all against all.”
The art world of Bellum is a brutal, bacchanalian landscape, patrolled by the ghosts of Modernism and MakerBot robot armies. Abstraction and figuration engage in brutal combat. The Bruce High Quality Foundation performs Animal Farm while one of its members is eaten by a dragon. Internet trolls ravage the Critical Refugee Encampment, where Artnet is burning down. Richard Serra makes an appearance as a Golem, and Jeffrey Deitch apparently does not survive.
An arcane “legend,” written on the drawing in the style of olde manuscripts, identifies the Virtual New Media Universe, The Aesthetishop, and the other imaginary battlefronts of these endless art-world wars.
To locate real-life figures like Richard Prince, Hennessy Youngman, Cory Arcangel, and Nato Thompson, click here.
William Powhida and Jade Townsend, Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes (detail), 2012, graphite on paper. Photo courtesy the artists and Freight + Volume.