Dear Shaded Viewers,
The Drowned World is a selection from the Dash Snow Archive comprised of the contents of the studio of Dash Snow (1981-2009), the exhibition draws from this vast archive including Polaroids, 35mm photographs, collages, sculptural works, Super 8 films, and zines. The polaroids and serial works on paper highlight the methodical aspects of Snow’s daily practices and life work, as do process sculptures, including three major assemblage works being exhibited for the first time. His earliest work began when he was a teenager in the mid-’90’s as a third generation graffiti writer on New York’s Lower East Side. Rene Ricard described him: “Any Tag by any teenager on any train on any line is fairly heartbreaking” (The Radient Child” Artforum, Dec. 1981). A portrait of Snow above the entrance to the F train on Allen Street has still not bombed over.
The art critic Edit DeAk, a champion of Snow’s work since the ’70’s, once called it “information from the middle of the night.” This seems an apt description of Snow’s transition from graffiti writer to Polaroid documentaarian, using his next choice of medium to mark time, remember, and be remembered through long darknesses. This exhibition was initiated in 2014 by Blair Hansen, founding director of the Archive, who has noted of his Polaroids (2000-2009): Snow began shooting the Polaroids in large quantities roughly around the time of 9/11 when he was twenty years old. These photographs offer a time capsule of the years following 9/11, and of a coming-of-age, giving us a larger picture of the williness and abandon that propelled the artist and his friends after the World Trade Center attacks. The polaroids also show Snow as a street photographer that was as taken by total strangers as he was with close friends and family.
Filled with DNA, Snow’s serial works on paper cite the artist’s particular interest in language, political speech, and its debasement or elevation through Dada-esque techniques; as well as his love for analog ancestors such as Hannah Hoch and John Heartfield.
In 2008-09 Sno made numerous Super 8 films, edited in-camera, often the duration of a Super 8 reel, with two lengthier, multi-reel works, Familae Erase (17:07 min, 2008) and Sisyphus, Sissy Fuss, Silly Puss (16:38 min, 2009).
Dash Snow was born in 1981 in New York City, where he worked throughout his life. He was sent to a juvenile facility in his teenage years, from which he ran away, moving in with friends on the Lower East Side in 2000. In 2005 he entered the art world with his first solo exhibitionMoments Like this Never Last at Rivington Arms, the gallery neighbor of Participant Inc. at the time, long before the neighborhood was home to commercial galleries.
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