Dan Colen Interview: From Bad Boy to Favorite Son

“We were really like running wild and we spent a lot of time shutting the world out”. American artist Dan Colen looking back upon his collaboration with fellow artists Ryan McGinley and Dash Snow while they were “destroying rooms” but in their heads thinking “we are not hurting anything”.

Dash Snow who The New York Times has called “the latest incarnation of that timeless New York species, the downtown Baudelaire” was “one of these guys who lives his art, his character was his creation”, Dan Colen says in this video about their relationship and how it influenced Colen’s life and work.

“Our work were very different, but we had a major influence on each other, both personally and professionally” . “We took a road trip, we wanted the energy that we were accustomed to and had to create the energy ourselves”, “it wasn’t a public performance, it wasn’t for an audience. It was how we dialogued almost. It was about how we were affectionate, it was about our relationship, Colen says and tells the story about how the gallery owner Jeffrey Deith gave them the keys to the gallery and they lived there for a week transforming the place into ‘a hamster cage’ of people and activities. “We destroyed the rooms but in our heads it was more like: We are not actually hurting anything”, Colen says about that period.

Dash died in 2009 at the age of 28. “We had a special connection, that was very intimate. But it gave me a kind of clarity to lose him”, Colen says.

Dan Colen’s show at the Gagosian Gallery in 2010 named ‘Poetry‘ was dealing with Dash Snow’s death. “You walked in from 24th Street and saw a large brick wall. Series of motorcycles that was knocked down like a domino next to each other. Behind the motorcycles was a painting of empty bottles on a table. I started it before Dash’ death and I finished afterwards. And my life style changed a lot and my relationship to everything did. It became a kind of icon for that moment of my life”. “The work came like if I had rediscovered life, because I had forgot about life for so long.”

Dan Colen (b 1979) named the bad boy of post-pop in New York. Colen’s visual art consist of many medias such as painted sculptures, graffiti inspired paintings and installations.

Ryan McGinley (b 1977) photographer, in 2003 at the age of 25 McGinley was one of the youngest artists to have a solo show at The Whitney Museum of American Art.

Dan Colen was interviewed by Jesper Bundgaard in New York City in spring 2014.

Camera and edit: Per Henriksen
Produced by: Out of Sync and Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014

Supported by Nordea-fonden


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