Packages of all shapes and sizes have been arriving throughout the week from Karma NYC containing posters, books, records, intriguing glass bottles. The unexpected gem is a massive Dan Colen installation, sent to White Flag on the whim of Brendan Dugen, owner of Karma. Karma is part bookstore, gallery, and publisher, specializing in artist books and editions. This is the first time an artwork by art world dynamo Dan Colen will appear in Saint Louis.
Colen, a “multimedia neo-pop artist of his generation” belongs to a group of bohemian rabble-rousers from downtown New York that includes Ryan McGinley, Nate Lowman, Aaron Young, Agathe Snow and the now-deceased Dash Snow — many of whom have work in WF’s Karma pop-up show. The group generally betrays graffiti and skate culture influences and, though there was early critical skepticism, has had a defining impact on the art culture of this millennium’s first decade.
Over the past several years Dan Colen has seen enormous success, appearing in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, at P.S.1, and the New Museum in New York, among many others. Gagosian Gallery New York mounted a solo show in 2010 that confirmed Colen’s already dynamic presence in the art world. His “slacker chic”-style artworks include painting series of Disney-inspired candles and pieces made to look like bird droppings, artworks made from gum, and his more recent “Trash” series – of which the WFP installation is a part.
And his work isn’t without controversy. One particularly inflamatory poster showed the artist draping a Jewish tallit over his erect penis, which he plastered all over Berlin. Many of the posters were removed, but Colen was unphased by the response. Perhaps his current use of trash is a response to his critics, a “you-think-my-art’s-trash-I’ll-show-you-trash” attitude.
Whatever the qualitative appraisal is, Colen and his friends never fail to fascinate and intrigue. They seem to be perpetuating the myth of the hard-living New York artist, à la Nan Goldin, who constantly breathes art.
Karma’s pop-up shop will open Friday, December 16 from 7-9 PM and remain on view for the weekend — including Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18 from 12-5 PM. For more information, please visit our website at www.whiteflagprojects.org.
(12/16/11 by Allison Fricke, Intern)