• Courtesy of the artist and Platform Gallery

It was record-hot last Thursday in Seattle. Sweaty anticapitalist marches for International Workers' Day clogged big streets. Police guarded the defenseless windows of Niketown. And superheroes in full-body costumes skirmished with cop-loathing anarchists. At City Hall, the mayor summoned reporters and TV cameras to hear his plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2021. A few blocks north in a public plaza, Kshama Sawant, Seattle's socialist city council member, rallied the fight for a faster and surer path to $15. I felt useless and disconnected going to art walk in Pioneer Square that night—until I got to a show by William Powhida, who transformed Platform Gallery into an experimental showroom for the products of low-wage Chinese art labor. The paintings at the show are replicas of Powhida's own drawings of lists and letters, neurotic rants about the heatedly capitalist contemporary art world. He's not a Seattle artist, but Powhida wove his work right into what matters most in Seattle now. No other art that night came close to rhyming with the rest of the day's tortured deliberations on exploitation.