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Weekly Art #21 - The Last Newspaper | Dash Snow "Untitled"
Submitted by Matt Jones on Tue, 1/11/2011, 12:05am
I was waiting around for a friend one day and decided to spend the waiting time checking out The Last Newspaper at the New Museum. The show was so-so, and it's over now so you can't see it if you wanted to but you probably didn't b/c honestly the show was only so-so. You can buy the catalog if you want to get a taste of what the show was about or check out the New Museum's The Last Newspaper web page.
In the exhibition there's a work by Dash Snow. Dash died of a drug overdose. He was born a year after I was born (a year before my brother was born). I remember being sad and angry when I found out he died. Friends of mine knew him. I'd only met him once. I'd only seen a couple of his works. A really good friend of mine was working on this interview project that I helped edit video of and he told me heaps about Dash that made me sad. See, I was an active drug addict alcoholic at the time of Dash's interview, too. He said something to like, "if Dash drinks any more alcohol his liver is going to quit," and told me that's what Dash's doctor said. So for the time being Dash was sober but he didn't know if it would last long - my friend hoped it lasted forever.
Looking at Dash's work in The Last Newspaper, a work I'd never seen, I was reminded of my old studio, sitting there late at night and some works I'd made using similar materials thought on 8 1/2 x 11" paper (not newspaper) and the glitter as incidental (my studiomate used heaps of glitter and glitter is a far reaching and nomadic material). My works had no direct political message as one blogger suggests Dash's Untitled does:
"In this work Dash Snow used the front pages of the New York Post and Daily News to create a suit of images that combine editorial hyperbole, violence, sex and celebration to chronicle the downfall of Saddam Hussein. Covered in semen and glitter, each page is a response to the hysterical headline and a comment on the brutally transient nature of celebrity."
I was interested in accounting for time, the time I was losing to being a drunken drug infused mess. So I made day to day things part of my practice. I poured beer and other waste onto paper and rode around on it in a wheel chair, I made endless amounts of drawings, I even accounted for masturbation by using semen as a material. Some how all the long nights and insane hours partying and obliterating myself had to be logged, displayed, made physical. Most of the night-time art I made at the time was created with this in mind. The day-time art wasn't much different.
Untitled - Dash Snow, 2006 / glitter and semen on newspaper
This piece was made one year before I got sober. I had one of those nights that ends in a bottom (the bottom it seems) and I woke up and went to AA meetings for a few months straight. My life gradually came back together, my creative practice blossomed. I got cranky - the spiritual part of AA wasn't sticking or making sense. Pat Groneman invited me to IDP with him one night. The rest is what the rest is. I have a conscious and intentional spiritual practice.
So Untitled, 2006 by Dash Snow and its proximity to my own historical escapist practice made me incredibly sad and grateful; sad that Dash is gone no matter what I think of his time, who he ran with, how he lived his life, he didn't deserve to go out like that; grateful that I'm here to be inspired by lives lost and the lives of those around me and to keep making work. There's always a way to keep going.
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