Past Exhibition

  • Dan Colen

Help!

Greenwich May 1st to October 1st, 2014

Dan Colen: Help! on view at The Brant Foundation from May 1, 2014 – October 1, 2014. 

The Brant Foundation Art Study Center is pleased to announce Help!, an exhibition of work by Dan Colen opening Sunday May 11, 2014.  Help! traces a decade of Colen’s  work, beginning with his first major sculpture, Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My  Friend  Dash’s  Wall  in  the  Future) (2004) and continuing through new site-specific pieces conceived specifically for the Foundation. The  exhibition  continues  the  Foundation’s  commitment  to  presenting  major   solo exhibitions for artists who have made singular contributions to the development of contemporary art. Peter Brant has been a major supporter of Colen throughout his career, and the  artist  is  well  represented  in  the  Foundation’s  collection.

One new piece, At Least They Died Together (after Dash) (2013-14), is an outdoor sculpture that will turn the pristine polo field that the Brant Foundation sits on into an installation site for two salvaged 14-foot New York City box trucks. The trucks will be planted nose-down with their cabs submerged in the ground like root systems stabilizing the two cuboids left visible. The roll gates, positioned at the tops of the trucks, will be left open to the sky, allowing rainwater, dirt and wildlife to accumulate and camp within.

The title  At  Least  They  Died  Together refers to a collage given to Colen by his friend and peer, Dash Snow, who died in 2009. Snow’s  impact  on  both  Colen  and  their  shared New York landscape can be felt throughout the Brant Foundation exhibition. On view for the first time in seven years, Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My  Friend  Dash’s  Wall  in  the  Future) is a to-scale, three dimensional trompe l’oeil  painted rendering of a heavily collaged wall from Snow’s  East  Village apartment. Colen and Snow were well known for their “hamster  nests”—nightlong hotel room actions involving reams of shredded telephone book paper, alcohol, narcotics, down feather filling, and other found materials. The private hamster nests eventually culminated  in  the  artists’  iconic  2007  “NEST”  collaborative  exhibition  at  Deitch  Projects   and will be represented in Help! with Snow’s video The End is Near (2005).

There  is  a  direct  connection  between  these  literal  depictions  of  Colen  and  Snow’s  time together  and  much  of  the  work  Colen  has  produced  in  the  years  following  Snow’s  death,   such as his confetti painting series. Like the shredded paper and feathers kicked up during the nest experiences, the image of confetti suspended in the air evokes celebration. And yet, rendered in oil paint, the confetti becomes abstracted, in some cases losing any sense of its original form and raising questions about whether it is possible to preserve elation or whether efforts to do so depict, in the end, something closer to loss.

This  dichotomy  between  control  and  surrender  is  central  to  Colen’s  practice. A shift occurs  as  his  work  progresses  past  early  trompe l’oeil  pieces  and  begins  (with  the  gum   painting   series)   to   employ   “real,”   everyday material in addition to traditional art material. Colen breaks apart the canonical painter’s approach to mimesis and instead presents his finished works in terms of their accreted component marks – marks made using oil paint, graphite, chewing gum, artificially dyed flowers, dimes, trash and live birds. Colen tracks the overall perceptual experience of a work by these elemental events, be they carefully manufactured by the artist or simply allowed to unfold according to the character of a given material. “I’m  trying  to  make  artworks that are specifically about the fragility  of  a  moment,”  says  Colen  about  his  practice  as  a  whole,  “works that try to pin down the energy from that moment and ask questions about what happens to that energy over time and  what  it  reflects  back  on  the  viewer.”

More on Dan Colen at The Brant Foundation:

Opening Party Page
Exhibition Catalogue
Panel Discussion at the School of Visual Arts
Free Arts Day with Dan Colen
A Discussion on the Work of Dash Snow

 

Artist Biography

Dan Colen

Dan Colen

He received his B.F.A. in 2001 from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Recent solo exhibitions include “Peanuts,” Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Norway (2011); “In Living Color,” FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2012); “The Illusion of Life,” Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Scotland (2013); “Help!,” The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Connecticut (2014); “The L…o…n…g Count,” The Walter De Maria Building, New York (2014); “Psychic Slayer,” HEART—Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Denmark (2015); and “Oil Painting,” Dallas Contemporary, Texas (2016).  His work is featured in several public collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens; de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, Miami; Jimenez–Colon Collection, Puerto Rico; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

 

SOLO

2016

Dan Colen: When I’m Gone. Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong.Dan Colen: Oil Painting. Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX.

2015

Dan Colen: Shake the Elbow. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.Dan Colen—Viscera. Venus Over Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.Dan Colen. And Now, Dallas, TX.Dan Colen: Psychic Slayer. HEART—Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark.

2014

The L...o...n...g Count. The Walter De Maria Building, New York, NY.Dan Colen: Miracle Paintings. Gagosian Gallery, W. 24th Street, New York, NY.Help! The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CT.

2013

Dan Colen: The Illusion of Life. Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh,Scotland.Dan Colen: The spirits that I called. Oko, New York, NY.

2012

Out of the Blue, Into the Black. Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France. Cracks in the Clouds, Seagram Building, New York, NY.Blowin’ in the Wind. Gagosian Gallery, Athens, Greece. Blowin’ in the Wind. Karma, New York, NY.In Living Color. FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY.

2011

Trash. Gagosian Gallery, Rome, Italy.Oh God! Massimo de Carlo, Palazzo Rospigliosi, Rome, Italy.Come Out, Come Out, Wherever you are. Carlson Gallery, London, England.Peanuts. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway.

2010

Dan Colen. Gagosian Gallery, West 24th Street, New York, NY.Karma. Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milano, Italy.

2009

Dan Colen, An Allegory Of Faith... Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street, London, England.

2008

Dan Colen, I live There... Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street, London, England.

2006

Dan Colen. Peres Projects, Los Angeles, California.Potty Mouth, Potty War, Pot Roast, Pot is a Reality Kick. Gagosian Gallery, West 24th Street, New York, NY.Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash’s Wall in the future). Deitch Projects, New York, NY.NO ME. Peres Projects, Berlin, Germany.

2003

Seven Days Always Seemed Like A Bit Of An Exaggeration. Rivington Arms, NewYork, NY.

GROUP

2016

Enzo Cucchi Tano Festa Dan Colen. The National Exemplar, New York, NY.

After Effect. Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX.

2015

Popular Images. Karma, New York, NY.

The Rainbow Serpent. Gagosian Gallery, Athens, Greece.

First Show / Last Show. 190 Bowery, New York, NY.

2014

One Way: Peter Marino. Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL.

Le Jardin Décomposé / Decomposed Garden. Gagosian Gallery, Le Bourget, Paris, France.

Broadway Morey Boogie. Montefiore Square, presented by Marlborough Chelsea, New York, NY.

Alter/Abolish/Address. 5x5: 2014, Washington, D.C.

CLEAR. Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA.

2013

Confronti – Enrico Castellani, Dan Colen, Dadamaino, Piotr Uklanski. GAMeC – Galleria
d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo, Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy.

The Show is Over. Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, London, England.

Meanwhile... Suddenly and Then. 12th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France.

2012

Joe Bradley and Dan Colen: Epiphany. Gavin Brown Enterprises, New York, NY.

Holy Crap! The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NY.

2011

Grisaille Part II. Luxembourg & Dayan, New York, NY.

OH! Galerie Patrick Seguin, Paris, France.

Grisaille Part I. Luxembourg and Dayan, London, England.

Ray's a Laugh. Half Gallery, New York, NY.

Invitation to the Voyage. Algus Greenspon, New York, NY.

Love Roses. National Exemplar Gallery, New York, NY.

George Herms: Xenophilia (Love of the Unknown). Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA.

Post 9-11. OH WOW, Los Angeles, CA.

The Art of Wit. Paddle 8, New York, NY.

New York Minute. Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia.

Unpainted Paintings. Luxembourg and Dayan, New York, NY.

Don't Do It Etc. Galerie Bruno Bischofberger AG, Zurich, Switzerland.

2010

Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection. Curated by Jeff Koons.The New Museum, New York, NY.

Art Cologne. Peres Projects Cologne, Berlin, Germany.

2009

New York Minute. Curated by Kathy Grayson. Macro Future Museum, Roma, Italy.

Minneapolis. Peres Projects, Los Angeles, CA.

Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture. Saatchi Gallery, London, England.

Slough. David Nolan Gallery, New York, NY.

The Living & the Dead. Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, NY.

2008

Wet Pain, Step Brother. Palazzo Gallery, Brescia, Italy.

The Unforgiven. Stellan Holm Gallery, New York, NY.

Substraction. Deitch Projects, New York, NY.

Sack of Bones. Asia Song Society, New York, NY.

Meet Me Around the Corner - Works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway.

Closing Down Sale. Michelle Maccarone, New York, NY.

2007

Unholy Truth. Initial Access, Manchester, England.

Sweet Bird of Youth. Curated by Heidi Slimane. Arndt & Partner, Zurigo.

Pop art is, Gagosian Gallery, London, England.

Nest. Deitch Projects, New York, NY.

Last Attraction Next Exit. Curated by Neville Wakefield. Max Wigram Gallery, London,
England.

Generation. Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada.

Fractured Figure - Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection. Curated by Jeffrey Deitch. Deste Foundation Centre For Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece

Beyond Zero. Peres Projects, Athens, Greece.

Beneath the Underdog. Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY.

Absent Without Leave. Victoria Miro Gallery, London, England. USA

Today. Royal Academy, London.

2006

Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night. Curated by Chrissie Iles & Philippe Vergne. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Defamation of Character. Curated by Neville Wakefield. PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY.

Infinite Painting. Curated by Francesco Bonami. Villa Manin-Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariane, Cedreipe, Italy.

Mid-Life Crisis. Curated by Ivana Salander and Tara Subkoff. Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York, NY.

Axis of Praxis. Curated by Nate Lowman. Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN.

Infinite Painting. curated by Francesco Bonami and Sarah Cosulich Canarutto. Villa Manin-Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano, Codroipo.

Fantastic Politics—Art in Times of Crisis. National Museum for Art, Architecture & Design, Oslo, Norway.

Survivor (organized by David Rimanelli). Bortolami Dayan, New York, NY.

2005

Interstate. Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, NY.

Bridge Freezes Before Road. Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY.

The Armory Show. Curated by Neville Wakefield. Peres Projects, New York, NY.

2004

Art Works for Hard Money. Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, NY.

Art Basel Miami. Peres Projects, Miami, FL.

2003

New York. Galerie du Jour, Paris, France.

40 Views of an Icon. Comme de Garcons.

2002

First Show. Rivington Arms, New York, NY.

Installation view

Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

  • Holy Shit, 2003
  • Cocksucker, 2012
  • The End is Near, 2005

Installation view

Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash's Wall in the Future), 2004-06

Styrofoam, oil paint, paper and metal
106 x 113 x 6 inches
Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

  • Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash's Wall in the Future), 2004-2006 (Detail)
  • Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash's Wall in the Future), 2004-2006 (Detail)
  • Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash's Wall in the Future), 2004-2006 (Detail)

Wooden lath slats block the entrance to the Brant Study Center exhibition space, creating a wall that both introduces and obscures the show arranged in the pristine gallery spaces beyond. The structure of “dirty” lath and studs recreates the patterns of support for traditional plaster construction, showing us a space that should be behind, or inside this wall, the space where victims or bodies are secreted in a haunted house. This homely wooden wall sets up the exhibition, as an homage to a kind of emptiness—a motif echoed in the hanging of crack pipe curtains in the open architectural space between the Center’s walls and roof joists.  Hollowness gives form to structure, excess artifice dissolves into the authenticity of camp and the uncanny desolation of movie-set facades: an existential choice between loss and excess.

On the other side of this wall, this blank wooden structure supports a meticulously, one can say for once in truth obsessively hand-painted collection of ephemera — ingeniously crafted replicas of newspaper clippings, notes, photos, and stickers, collected by Dash Snow, several years before his death. Titled, Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash’s Wall in the Future), this complex painting-sculpture assemblage reverses time, hysteron-proteron, as the lost wall of the mortuary past—history— is projected as art and incantation into the ever-receding vistas of the future. In transposing the clichés of “symbols” into “Cymbals,” and “smoke and mirrors” into “Smoke and Scissors,” the work refuses the convention of reading “meaningfully” into signs that might have prefigured an early death. Dan creates a monument struck dumb by his labor. In the time spent replicating and placing every flyer and handwritten message, the painting becomes a work of melancholia, emptied of representational meaning, but embodying, in retrospect, that strange convergence of grief and vicarious identification that the passing of heroic figures inspires for those who must remain. – David Riminelli

 

  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Scorpio Rising, 2010
  • Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff & Elvis Presley, 2010
  • Step on a Crack Break Your Mothers Back, 2010
  • Overture, 2010
  • Untitled, 2008

Installation view

Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

Missing Schmissing, 2006 Do Not Disturb, 2006
Virgin Schmirgin, 2006 Untitled (Eat Shit and Die), 2006
Untitled (Zippideedoodah), 2006

There is a direct connection between these literal depictions of Colen and Snow’s time together and much of the work Colen has produced in the years following Snow’s death, such as his confetti painting series. Like the shredded paper and feathers kicked up during the nest experiences, the image of confetti suspended in the air evokes celebration. And yet, rendered in oil paint, the confetti becomes abstracted, in some cases losing any sense of its original form and raising questions about whether it is possible to preserve elation or whether efforts to do so depict, in the end, something closer to loss. This dichotomy between control and surrender is central to Colen’s practice. A shift occurs as his work progresses past early trompe l’oeil pieces and begins (with the gum painting series) to employ “real,” everyday material in addition to traditional art material. Colen breaks apart the canonical painter’s approach to mimesis and instead presents his finished works in terms of their accreted component marks – marks made using oil paint, graphite, chewing gum, artificially dyed flowers, dimes, trash and live birds. Colen tracks the overall perceptual experience of a work by these elemental events, be they carefully manufactured by the artist or simply allowed to unfold according to the character of a given material. “I’m trying to make artworks that are specifically about the fragility of a moment,” says Colen about his practice as a whole, “works that try to pin down the energy from that moment and ask questions about what happens to that energy over time and what it reflects back on the viewer.”

Installation view

Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

Installation view, Infinite Jest, 2012-2014

Barbed wire and trash
Dimensions variable
Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

  • Installation view
  • Installation view, Infinite Jest (Detail)
  • Installation View, Infinite Jest (Detail)
  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Night Leaves, 2014
  • The Beginning of the End, 2011-2014
  • Falling Flames, 2014
  • The Pale King, 2013-2014
  • Lavender Light, 2013-2014
  • Hush Little Baby, 2014
  • Dog Pound, 2011-2013
  • "And all there is left if the fallin' rain," 2013-2014
  • Help!, 2013-2014

  • Love Roses, 2008/2014
  • Installation view, Love Roses
  • Installation view, Love Roses (Detail)

Installation view

Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

  • Hand of Fate (Detail)
  • Hand of Fate (Detail)
  • Hand of Fate (Detail)

Hand of Fate, 2014

Trash and paint on canvas
126 x 97 x 2 inches

The walk someone takes to and from work has real meaning.  The atmosphere on your way to work is important.  A thought can appear at once with real clarity.  One morning, Dan saw something on the sidewalk and then someone else and soon it became clear what to do.  He picked up the trash that was in his path.  This trash became life confetti, and the Trash paintings grew from this.

You can see it all in the photos.  The stuff does look a little New York-centric.  A shopping cart or a police barricade.  There are also quite a few things that could have come out of someone’s garage.  It’s the crushed cans, the rotting paper goods, that really help to signify that is all ultimately trash.  The trash was gathered by several people, which helped to keep it all from developing a specific taste of style.  The trash was acquired by simply walking about and picking up things that one came across naturally.  This was the only rule about the trash: it was not sought out, but rather it was come across.

(Trash Essay by Josh Smith)

  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Waiting on a Friend, 2013-2014
  • Dig Up Her Bones, 2014
  • Spinal Remains, 2012-2014

Installation view

Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

  • No Way Jose, 2008-2009
  • Nevermind, 2007-2010
  • Whatever, 2007-2010
  • Holy Moly, 2004
  • No Way Jose, 2008-2009
  • Untitled (Candle Sketch 2 - Feathers), 2004
  • Yeah Right, 2008-2009
  • Fuck, 2004
  • Nothing, 2007-2010
  • Blow, 2005
  • Nevermind, 2007-2010
  • Boo Fuck'n Hoo, 2006
Holy Crap, 2009 Fuck, 2004
Me & You, 2006-2007 Yeah Right, 2007-2010
Untitled (Candle Sketch 1 - Huggies), 2004 No Way Jose, 2008-2009

Installation view

Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

  • No Way Jose, 2008-2009
  • Installation view
  • Holy Crap, 2005-2009

Installation view, My Old Friend the Blues, 2012

Found blue bicycles, smoke machine, chains
Dimensions variable
Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

  • Time to Die, 2014
  • Installation view
  • For They Know Not What They Do (Self-Portrait), 2006

A Cosmic Disturbance, 2014

Elm wood and glass
24 x 24 x 35 inches
Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

  • Kill the Light, 2014
  • Condensed Flesh, 2014
  • Anarchy is Dead, 2014
  • Just One Bullet, 2014
  • Bottled Violence, 2014
  • Shit on Me, 2014
  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation view

Everybody's Gonna Die, 2014

Flowers on Belgian linen
47 x 37 inches
Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

At Least They Died Together (After Dash), 2014

Box trucks
Dimensions variable
Photography: Christopher Burke Studio
© Dan Colen

At Least They Died Together (After Dash), consists of a pair of box trucks turned on their ends and buried in the Brant Foundation’s manicured polo field. Colen says he took the title from a collage Snow, who died of a heroin overdose in 2009, gave him. “At its original point of conception, I don’t think he was at the forefront of my mind,” he says. “Losing him really gave me an intimacy with death that I hadn’t had before, like literally in my own life, I came really close to the precipice myself. The sculpture, for me at least, provokes this thought, ‘is it a burial or is it like a planting?’ ‘Is life going to grow out of them, or more of a monument?’

– Dan Colen (The New York Times Style Magazine, May 8, 2014)