PAE: $319,894-$479,841
Dan Colen, Die by the Sword
Dan Colen, Die by the Sword, 2013, flowers on bleached Belgian linen, 149 x 322.2 cm (58 5/8 x 126 7/8 in.) © Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others.

Dan Colen (b. 1979) is an American artist born in New Jersey who attended the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 2001. Colen, and his classmates/friends – Dash Snow (graffiti artist “SACE”) and Ryan McGinley – gained notoriety for their drugged-out partying, art/graffiti lifestyle, and punk-attitude which catapulted them to New York art stardom in the early 2000s. In 2005, Colen borrowed a theme of 'gathering' from a Jeff Wall photograph entitled “The Vampire's Picnic”. He used the form of the structure in this photograph to create one of his earliest sculptural works, “Untitled (working title: Drugs, Hugs & Bugs)”, 2004-05, for a group show at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery, which also displayed the work of Adam McEwen, Aaron Young, Banks Violette, and Nate Lowman. This led to his papier-mâché rock sculptures (see “Untitled (Vete al Diablo)”, 2006), exhibited at Peres Projects’ 2006 exhibition “No Me”, which reports the same spirit of lost teenage collaboration and congregation. This theme can also be viewed in his trompe l’oeil painting of Dash Snow’s wall, “Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash’s Wall in the Future)”, 2004-2006. In order to publicize the exhibition, “No Me”, at Peres Projects, Colen and his friends posted up a poster of Colen’s erect penis covered by a Jewish prayer shawl all over Berlin. The pranks didn’t start or stop there. Dash Snow and Dan Colen have trashed hotel rooms, filling them with 30-50 shredded telephone books, doing as many drugs possible until they felt like hamsters, rolling around naked. This project was further explored at Deitch Projects in 2007 were Colen and Snow recreated their hotel ritual in the gallery space. Entitled “Nest”, the performance lasted for multiple nights and ran in the gallery for a month. Still earlier, Colen’s first show at Gagosian Gallery in 2006 was held in the bathroom of the West 24th St. location and sold-out immediately. The works surrounding these performances seem just as varied. Colen has created paintings made to look like bird shit and others using chewed up wads of gum as pigment. Preferring the accidental and the unplanned, he has hired average-talent assistants to help him produce his work. The New York City art scene soon tired of his antics by 2010 with his exhibition at Gagosian entitled “Poetry” which was famously attacked by Jerry Saltz who called the show “the Spirit of Stupidity, stalking us in the form of the well-meaning but misguided Dan Colen.” (New York Magazine, “2007 Art in 2010”, Jerry Saltz) Since his friend Dash’s drug overdose in 2009, Colen has sobered up and continues to live and work in upstate New York. Dan Colen is represented by Gagosian Gallery. (For further reading see: “Chasing Dash Snow”, published Nov. 2007, New York Magazine, Ariel Levy)

Video: Dan Colen - Peanuts - from Astrup Fearnley Museet