Friday, July 17, 2009

There is No Point


In a new spate of responsive articles-articles without journalistic merit subjective as they are, and meandering, I find myself writing about Dash Snow, an artist I knew little or nothing about. What one did tend to know concerned his legend as depicted in the Wikipedia article (quoted at the end of this...essay or click on link). I include one image that I responded to found on Google.

Dash Snow died at 27. I don't, or didn't, know Dash Snow from Adam. I'd seen his photo, along with a group of other twenty something artists he worked with, on the cover of New York magazine, or was it Time Out, a while back, and felt vaguely queasy at the time, as calculated shock appeared to be their modus operandi, i.e. method-grab the public by their balls and don't let go. Remember this is all post Aubrey Beardsley, Rimbaud, Chapman brothers, Hermann Nietzsche. What creeps in though is always a sense that someone has to do it, go full tilt at decadence, be a sort of societal safety valve. Then again he probably really didn't care, or saw no point, or meaning, or saw the work as a justification in itself. Did he feel no compunction to explain or justify his work, is this, in essence, courage? This is at the heart of why I am writing this. I strongly suspect I am envious of one thing—the NOT HAVING TO EXPLAIN ONE'S MOTIVES. The question: Why? can kill so much. The question: Why not? can yield such fruit, can be so liberating. It can also kill you but then both these questions can do that. The first seems more tormented, the second more free, and possibly hedonistic. So he was an Art Star who burned bright and furious. His art works were scrappy, flung together, angry, scatological, graphic, used seminal fluids, and were sexually explicit though hardly pornographic. I've no take on how enduring his legacy will be. He certainly hoed his own path but did so, I would suggest, always confident of support if he needed it. He came from a hugely wealthy family who were, are, art patrons. Did they support him, send him the occasional check? Did he categorically reject such props? Having left home to live on the streets in his early teens can we doubt he would have rejected offers of help if he were desperate? He may not have been given a leg up but there always was a leg to stand on if he needed it. I suspect decadence and privilege do go hand in hand. Nonetheless he was a talented artist. There is a beautiful autism at work. On Charlie Rose the other night VS Ramachandran, who has done remarkable work concerning ghost limbs and the brain, said if you pointed at something an autistic child might look at the end of your finger instead of the thing you were pointing out. Why do I apply this to Dash Snow. You tell me.

Career

Snow ran away from home and began living on the streets at 13 or 14, and began taking photographs, he said, as a record of places he might not remember the next day.[4]
He was included in the 2006 Wall Street Journal article titled "The 23-Year Old Masters", which selected ten top emerging US artists including Rosson Crow, Ryan Trecartin, Zane Lewis, and Keegan McHargue.[5]
The artist's photographic work is in a thematically similar mode to photographers Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Ryan McGinley and Richard Billingham, often depicting scenes of a candid or illicit nature. Instances of sex, drug taking, violence and art-world pretentiousness are documented with disarming frankness and honesty, offering insight into the decadent lifestyle increasingly associated with young New York City artists and their social circles.
Some of Snow's recent collage-based work was characterized by the controversial practice of using his own semen as a material applied to or splashed across newspaper photographs of police officers and other authority figures. However, the suggestive nature of such works did not prevent them from being acquired by influential collectors such as Charles Saatchi, Anita Zabludowicz, Dakis Joannou, [6], The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum [7].
He also wrote graffiti as part of the Irak Crew using the name "Sace". [8]
Snow exhibited in galleries and museums such as The Royal Academy in London, the Whitney Museum of American Art's 2006 Biennial, "God spoiled a perfect asshole when he put teeth in yer mouth", Peres Projects, "Day For Night", Deitch Projects, Saatchi Gallery[9], "Babylon"[10] at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in New York, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and Bergen Kunsthall in Norway.
[edit]Family

A son of Taya Thurman and her former husband, Chris Snow, the artist was also a great-grandson of the founders of the Menil Collection, Dominique de Menil and John de Menil, French aristocrats who were heirs to fortunes based in textiles and oil-drilling equipment.[11] His maternal grandfather is Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman, his maternal grandmother is set and costume designer Christophe de Menil, and an aunt is actress Uma Thurman. He has a brother, Maxwell, and a sister, Caroline.
In 1999 Snow married Agathe Aparru, now known as Agathe Snow, an artist.[11] According to Snow's New York Times obituary, this marriage ended in divorce.[3]
He had a daughter, Secret Aliester Ramirez Messenger Santa Creeper, by Jade Berreau, a model, actress, and photographer, in 2007.[12] (One source states the child's name is Secret Magic Nico.)[13]
[edit]Death

Snow died on the evening of July 13, 2009 at Lafayette House, a hotel in lower Manhattan.[2] His grandmother Christophe de Menil was quoted as saying that he died of a drug overdose.[3] Other sources indicated that the cause of his death is still under investigation.

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Doing Lines

Asemic writing