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Why You Shouldn't Live in New York: William Powhida Breaks It Down

Why You Shouldn't Live in New York by William Powhida
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 30"x24" ($1200)

Fellow New Yorker William Powhida is back with an extra-special, characteristically acerbic edition that—bonus!—also benefits iMOCA. Presenting this print is Jeffrey Teuton, one of the most beloved members of the Jen Bekman Projects fam. Take it away, Teuton: 

Move to New York, don’t move to New York. I don’t really care. Does anyone? Does it give you any cred anymore? Is New York still where young artists dream to be? I keep reading about how everyone is leaving for all these other places. I know so many people upstate that I'm starting to get the vibe that New York City adjacent is what it is all about. I came to the city with big dreams, so I'm not knocking the thirst for NYC, that's for sure. Insane prices aside, the city is magical and amazing shit is happening all over.

While hardly a definitive list nor one that will persuade you to stop packing the U-Haul, William Powhida's Why You Shouldn't Move to New York lovingly takes the piss out of the city. Its satire and tongue-in-cheek humor, like other works and projects in Powhida's portfolio, start a frank conversation and provide an entry point for ruminations on the structure, building blocks, and ridiculousness of the art market. Or you can chuckle lightly and walk on to the next booth at the art fair.

But it isn't all for laughs—funds from this edition go towards the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA). Going into its 15th year, iMOCA has grown substantially and is currently seeking to expand, moving into a new space in 2017. Sales of this edition will, in part, be used to fund the Museum’s expansion efforts.

Though it may not seem the most likely coupling as a benefit, indulge me in a little personal narrative. I left Indianapolis right after high school with no intention of coming back. A few cities later I ended up in New York, and like so many I fell in love with the city, made it my home and vowed never to leave. I fucking love New York and as an artist and gallerist the city was tremendous motivation and inspiration. When I started to think about leaving, I was really stuck on the city. I thought if I left I'd be tossing out all I had worked for, especially the security blanket of the city. Life can be shitty, but at least in NYC it's shitty in NYC

I met iMOCA’s Director Paula Katz during this time and was really only considering relocation to LA or Upstate. I'd been going back to Indianapolis often over the years and knew of the museum, but I still thought moving back to Indiana would be career suicide and boring as fuck. Through our friendship, Paula provided an introduction to the museum's innovative exhibitions, public programs, audience engagement, and commitment to exhibiting the work of emerging and mid-career artists.

iMOCA began as—and still remains—Indianapolis' only museum dedicated solely to showing and advancing contemporary art. iMOCA strives to present artwork that increases the understanding and appreciation of contemporary visual culture, provoking dialogue and encouraging the discovery that art is all around us. The museum is greatly connected to not only bringing contemporary art to communities, but to implementing it as a tool of community redevelopment with long term and lasting goals.

By offering free admission, iMOCA prides itself on accessibility. I was offered a seat on the board and it pushed my decision to move to Indianapolis. It was a revitalization and reminder of the importance of diverse platforms and institutions in the international art landscape, and the incredible impact they can have within their communities. The ability to have a direct hand in creating part of the cultural landscape of the city as a member of the iMOCA board saved me from being trapped in a New York cliche. The next step will be to actually to change my drivers license. I'm not quite there yet.

With art for everyone,
Jeffrey Teuton