ART | Let the chaos rule the rest

Saturday, 5 March 2011

I'm torn on whether I love or loathe Dash Snow. He wasn't exactly around for long, but lived mostly half of his life in the 'art world' of New York. Saying that, he's quoted in Interview Magazine (link) saying:

'People say 'the art world' but that's kind of generalising. I'm not so concerned with it. I just want to hang out with my baby and make art.'

Oh yes, like all the good hipsters, he was too cool for the rest of them. He came from a wealthy family, but chose to live on the streets from around the age of thirteen, taking pictures of the things he said he 'might not remember in the morning'. Polaroids were the main focus of his art, if you call it that - it's widely debated. The majority of them feature blood, drugs, graffiti, and nudity. Great! The pictures depict Snow's life; does this make them art? Or could anyone with this sort of lifestyle take these photographs, as his critics suggest? Personally, I think there is something about the images, however whether this is due to Snow's individual artistic endeavour, or whether Polaroid film makes nearly anything that anyone with a reasonable eye for photography takes look 'edgy' and 'artsy', I don't know...

Threesomes, defecation and... something relatively normal looking. Click on the picture for the collection
Snow also dabbled in mixed media and installations. When he came to London with his friend, fellow artist Dan Colen, for a Saatchi show that they both had work in, they created one of their famous 'Hamster Nests'. They shredded fifty phone books, pulled the blankets off the beds and the curtains from the walls, and removed their clothes. Then they took a variety of clothes and tried to 'feel like hamsters'. They could give Charlie Sheen a run for his money (well, what's left after he spent so much on coke). All this prompted Jeffrey Deitch to turn over his gallery to the two to 'recreate' nests with their friends, including the photographer Ryan McGinley. Resulting in the mess/art below:

Click on the picture for a link to NYmagazine article
He also used semen and bodily fluids in his work 'Fuck the Police', shown at the Saatchi gallery. Of course! Any comtemporary artist's go-to medium. Why didn't I think of that? The piece is described by the gallery:

"Wittily combining protest with hard-core bravado, Snow’s installation draws upon fictional connotations to conjure sociopathic images of gangsta persona. In his ballsy statement of counter-culture vehemence, Snow merges Warhol reference with Tarantino sensationalism in humorously pathological display."

Wordy. Possibly a load of rubbish, but maybe there's something in their description. If anything, my favourite aspect of this piece was the display, as if some kind of satirical museum to police corruption. Maybe this doesn't make it art as such, but I find it compelling and interesting in a conceptual way. Not sure about the image of him systematically masturbating over each of the clippings (though it's probably depicted somewhere in his Polaroids) but each to his own.

Click on the image for a link to Snow's Saatchi profile
Snow grew more paranoid and suspicious after years of running from the police and a miscellany of people he'd enraged over his career. It was even said he'd disabled his phone and removed the buzzer for his flat and consequently the only way to be let in was to shout from the bottom floor, on which he would use a periscope to see who you were before letting you up. He named his daughter Secret Midnight Magic Nico, which makes me err on the side of loathing for him, seeing as it lumps him in with the group of 'celebrities with ridiculously named children' (Apple, Princess Tiaamii, Blue Angel, Jermajesty, Moon Unit, Dweezil and Diva Muffin, the list unfortunately goes on)...
Even after his death from an overdose in 2009, his work remained simultaneously sought after and derided. I'm still undecided, but his work definitely captures his life and debauchery in vivid technicolour, as far as film allows. Take a look at his work through some of the links in this post, and decide for yourself - a gap in the 'art world' (although of course he'd have hated being included in it) or good riddance? Hmm...

Image found at (click image for link)

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