Air Kissing in Philadelphia

Art about the art world.

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Although artists can often get away with traditionally anti-social activities, few successful artists survive today without becoming social butterflies.Often shy, dry or simply misanthropic artists will complain that the art-world's highly social atmosphere excludes those who would rather be creating in their studio instead of chatting about their work at an opening or another art-community gathering. Curator Sasha Archibald's "Air Kissing: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art about the Art World", at Philadelphia's Arcadia University, offers 22 international artists, artist teams and collectives the opportunity to air their grievances in public about art's blurred personal/ professional boundaries.

Andrea Fraser, who infamously had sex with a mysterious collector on camera, shows her 1991 video "May I Help You?" in which she parodies various art-world archetypes, and Alex Bag screens "Untitled (Fall '95)" the video in which she comically embodies the range of subgenres of art-students and which ironically made her a momentary art star. But the best bit of snark comes from Brooklyn-based William Powhida, who presents a handwritten version of a New York Times Arts Section article entitled "When the Art Really Lives with You." Powhida's manuscript describes hedge-fund-billionaire David Ganek and his wife Danielle, whose chick-lit novel, 'Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him' was the ultimate air-kiss to the art-world, buying William Powhida as a kind of performance art slave/ living art sculpture. However, as the article explains, when Powhida's bad-boy artist behavior gets too actual and offensive for his collectors, he is consigned to storage (i.e., a luxury suite in the Maritime Hotel) where he languishes in a temporary social time-out until he is put up for auction.

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