Bill Powers on Aging, Timelessly

“I’ve long been fascinated with the idea of inherent vice, because I think so many artists are trying to make something that lasts beyond their lifetime, and I think it’s a problem that people don’t talk about that much,” explains writer, curator, and Half Gallery owner Bill Powers on inspiration for his new novella, What We Lose in Flowers…, which will be unveiled this evening at Greenwich Village’s Karma bookstore. The book tells the story of a hedonistic, aging artist coming to grips with the physical deterioration of his art and the devolution of his relationship with his much younger wife. “A lot of times artists are like, ‘I may only be here for 70 or 80 years and yeah, human relationships are great, but it’s the art that will really last,'” says Powers. “But what if you realized that your art may not survive physically? I think that would be kind of earth-shattering.”

The work features cover art by Powers’s friend Richard Prince—two black-and-white photographs of half-dressed women with DVD labels obscuring their faces. “Richard and I both love art, photography, and 20th-century literature, and have always thought it would be cool to collaborate,” says the author. “I hope the readers judge it by its cover.” They’ll have to, because there’s no text on the spine or author’s photo. No “about Bill Powers,” he says. “I just hope it feels a little timeless.”