Who is Bravo’s ‘Work of Art’ judge Bill Powers

Bill Powers from Work of Art on Bravo

Bravo will debut its Project Runway inspired reality competition show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist tonight.  The show will feature 14 aspiring artists competing for a $100,000 cash prize and a show at the Brooklyn Museum.  In our Work of Art profiles we have met sexy show host China Chow, mentor Simon de Pury and judges Jerry Saltz and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn.  Now we’re going to take a look at the final judge, Mr. Bill Powers.

So who is the saucy looking guy on the stool up there?  Bill Powers is going to be the one bringing a youthful perspective to the judges’ table.  He is co-owner of the Lower East Side art space Half Gallery along with writer James Frey and Andy Spade, the creative force behind mens lifestyle brand Jack Spade.  It’s called Half Gallery because it shares its space with RXArt, a non-profit organization that teams up with well-known artists to create site-specific art for hospitals around the country.  Powers is currently on the board of RXArt.

Along with being a trend setting gallery owner Powers is Editor-at-Large for Purple Fashion magazine, a hip fanzine-styled mag that falls under the Purple umbrella.  (You might remember Lindsay Lohan’s infamous Purple Fashion Jesus cover.)  If you checked out the Half Gallery and Purple Fashion Magazine links you can see that his endeavors have that art-world-hip “what the hell am I looking at?” vibe to them, which is exactly the energy that Powers brings to the show.

Upping the youthful hip factor ten fold is the fact that powers is married to the beautiful and successful designer Cynthia Rowley, who is no stranger to Bravo’s reality competition environment having made a few guest spots on Project Runway back when it was still with the network.  Ah, to be young, good looking, hip, living in New York and representing on reality TV!  Here is a photo of the cooler-than-you couple being cooler than you:

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 16: Designer Cynthia Rowley (L) and Bill Powers (R) attend The New York Times Style Magazine 5th anniversary issue celebration at The Standard on September 16, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

What could possibly make someone as uber cool as Powers even MORE hip?  You guessed it: write a novel about trendy people living in New York City!  Bill Power published the novel Tall Island in 2004:

A sympathetic satire set in Manhattan circa 2002, Tall Island follows three downtown New Yorkers bluffing their way through the aftermath of open bars, estranged relations, and scorched earth. Offering a snapshot of the city in the grace period between 9/11 and the War in Iraq, Tall Island captures a complicated slice of “all that New Yorkers strive to be” (says author Jerry Stahl).

I know you’re thinking that the next thing I’m gonna tell you is that I found some random photo of Bill Powers with none other than Philip Seymour Hoffman the current prime meridian for all things acceptably hip. Well, yes I did:

Bill Powers from Work of Art with actor Philip Seymour Hoffman

These 14 artists competing for the top prize on Work of Art: The Next Great Artist have a judge with a keen sense of New York City hip.  I can already foresee conflicts if any of these people come into the contest believing they are too cool for school.  If you don’t have a photo with PSH then check the ‘tude at the door is what I say.  Judging art in a competition-based reality show has to be a difficult task, but I feel comfortable that in the least our man Bill Powers will look and act cool while doing it.

(Top Photo: Bravo TV)