Monday, August 6, 2007

Dirty Deeders Dash Snow and Dan Colen Not So Snow White at Deitch

Back in 2004, on a fairly regular basis, Ms. Lamgelina took part in something called the "Antagonist Art Movement," a collection of East Village neerdowells supposedly committed to "art at all costs."

At least that's what they put in their press release and "mission statement."

Needless to say, I found them in the end to be more committed to basement/bathroom/kitchen hijinks with the NY gliterrati rock scene and a certain snow white substance than to "art" by any means.

Each and every Sunday, I would take part in open mic readings, and a shadowy figure would appear in the rafters, taking up residence for the rest of the night in the kitchen.

Sometimes he would put on puppet shows through the plate pick-up window, or shout out a "Cray-zee" one-liner that would leave me in stitches.

He could always sing a good Beatles tune along with the drunken crew, and pick out some notes on the guitar.

This person was Jack Walls, (pictured above in his artist studio by Erik Foss, courtesy former Robert Mapplethorpe lover/model, and a true NYC institution.

Eventually I became so comfortable with my status in this boys club as to be the only female allowed in the kitchen to share a certain type of wacky tobaccy with Mr. Walls and friends.

Days later, my namby-pamby ass ended up in the e.r., losing 13 pounds in 6 days, and pretty much retired from that "art scene."

Keeping up with the Joneses is never advisable to a small town goody-goody, especially if the Joneses happen to be the Dash Snows of the world.

It was on that last trip when I remembered a certain long-blond haired scary looking young man tagging along with Mr. Walls, as well as a fellow-lanky pretty boy shaggy-haired trust funder.

Of course, what do you do when the top of the art world also suddenly starts elevating this "scene," and calls it "art."

Fast-forward 3.5 years, and I find that this trio is 2007's newest art world sensations-- Ryan McGinley, Dan Colen and Dash Snow-- who cite Walls as a "muse," or "cultural influence."
Sorry... excuse me for a second as I hold in my laughter.

Mind you, I love Jack-- He's truly awesome in every sense of the word "awesome."
Funny as all get out, intelligent, and gives it as good as it gets.

His demeanor apparently has even been spoofed through Tracy Morgan's legendary skit, "Brian Fellows' Safari Planet" on SNL. (see above stolen image, courtesy of Broadway Video, NBC)

But "artistic muse?" I don't think so.

Debauchery, treachery, and catty-comment brilliance, yes, but modern contemporary art laid claim to him?


Out of the holy trinity of artists listed above, only one of them can truly lay claim to TALENT, let alone superiority (that being the amazing photography of McGinley).

The other two are embarassingly sub-par artists of the variety of "Entourage's" Eric and Turtle.

So upon hearing of the "artistic influence" that Jack has supposedly had on Dash and Dan, I became highly suspicious.

Second bananas to McGinley no more, this week finds reviewers in a tizzy over Snow and Colen's coh... cool... KOH... COLA-BORE-NATION... (sorry, frog in my throat)... I meant "COLLABORATION."

What exactly is this "collaboration?"

Deitch Projects' "Nest" exhibition of Snow and Colen's infamous habit of "nesting," in various hotel rooms from their jet setting across the globe to high-end galleries and art fairs.

It's a fantastic concept when you think about it.

Binge drink in competition with your best buddy, do as many drugs as humanly possible, f*&* as many orifices as possible, piss all over yourself and each other, have other bodily fluids coalesce into a nasty paste, rip up phone books, bibles, or whatever paper you can get your hands on, use a magic marker to tag and trash your hotel room like the S.O.B.s you are, and become so freakin' out of it that you envision you're a "hamster."



You know what else can be deep?

Frat boys.

Because truth be told, I can find absolutely no separation between the culture Colen and Snow embody than your average University of Michigan hazing ceremony.

One of the historic separations between artists and the "regular population," (i.e., the sorority girls, the frat boys, the establishment), has been the loner, outsider quality of artists; or perhaps, sensitivity of deep thought and commitment to higher values of what art can accomplish.

This exhibit is not only debasing the value of what art is and can be, but through their coat-tailing of McGinley, eventually dragging down the value of his work as well.

Whereas McGinley shows heart and passion for his subjects, and places so much of his work in documenting those closest to him, Colen and Snow appear to be the ones who simply won the lottery in the networking department.

Since when does being the "best friends and roommates" of someone equate with being worthy of top gallery roster addition, let alone solo show?

Mr. Deitch, this is probably your worst show yet.

And I do worship Deitch-- and have long held it high in my regard, even though I know his two spaces go whichever way the youthful wind blows.

But in this case, it's a sad state of affairs.

The only thing it accomplishes is a coronation for these children of wealth and prestige, and gives them more wealth and prestige for doing the least possible work.

Mind you, it wasn't Snow or Colen who shredded 30,000 phone books-- no, it was those "30 volunteers."

The "artists" came late one night, spent their hard-earned drug money, pissed in the corner, laughed, and left.

Then they returned for a second night with more beers, more drugs, and more "creation," because of course they must have been "over budget."

Then they had top djs come in for the celebratory opening, along with a newborn baby girl arrive to Snow's cover girl model girlfriend, whose tiny belly at right on the invite at almost 8 months along says a lot about who these people really are.

This is probably the first exhibit that's really made me angry, but maybe that's what they're hoping to accomplish.

"Let's see just how much we can get away with before they put a stop to it."

Mind you, this is something truly lacking in these boys' lives, because this, after all, is what they are--permanent pre-pubescents who have never been required to grow up, and are being offered a silver platter for debasing space that could be used for much greater good.

Peter Pans out of control, and those in charge are reaping in the benefits of the collective destruction.

In closing, the final summation for these top gallery owners who keep up this charade... seriously, go to a rock show. Go see a real band. No, really.

Because you and I both know what natural milquetoasters most gallery owners, dealers and collectors truly are.

When faced with newbies such as a Snow, or Colen, or whoever, they immediately spring to mind, "This is so cutting-edge. So fashion-obsessed. So new. So ROCK and ROLL."

Spend a night with Rob Pollard of Guided By Voices, or Lee Ranaldo, or perhaps even play some soccer with James circa 1994, or share a beer with Marty Wilson Piper of The Church.

You will understand what rock and roll is really about, and understand a phenomenon called "Poseurs."

Colen and Snow are truly the Fall Out Boys of the art world.

Sadly disappointing, but definitely expected.

For more "cutting-edge" debauchery, go to

(All images here courtesy of Deitch Projects website, "Nest" exhibition, Dan Colen and Dash Snow, all rights reserved.)

(The opinions expressed above are those of Lamgelinaoly, and Lamgelinaoly alone.)


Hungry Hyaena said...

I heart this post, Oly.

It's a much funnier, more vitriolic presentation of some ideas I droned on about myself (here). You just tear back the scrim that much more effectively.


Oly said...

Awwww shucks, Hyaena.
My bitter aftertaste is sweetened by your compliment!