Birth name: Dashiell A. Snow
Born: July 27, 1981. New York
Died: July 13, 2009 (aged 27). New York
Dash Snow is an American artist, associated with the Downtown New York art scene and the Hipster Art movement. Snow uses a number of different mediums including Photography, Newspaper and magazine collages, and Installations. Although Dash Snow was a member of the De Menil family, one of America’s richest and most prominent art collecting dynasties, he earned renown for his juvenile antics and often nihilistic artwork. Snow used revulsion (among other things) in his art to lend verisimilitude to a bohemian fantasy of downtown Manhattan life.
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.
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 associated with young New York City artists and their social circles.
Some of Snow’s 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. His works have been acquired by influential collectors such as Charles Saatchi, Anita Zabludowicz, Dakis Joannou, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum.
Dash Snow was also one of the founding members of the notorious graffiti crew titled IRAK, under the name “SACER” alongside fellow writer “EARSNOT”.
In 2007 he was the centerpiece for the BARR music video “The B Side Is Silent”
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, Contemporary Fine Arts, Deitch Projects, Saatchi Gallery, “Babylon” at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and Bergen Kunsthall in Norway. He is represented by Peres Projects in Berlin and Los Angeles, and Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin.
A son of Taya Thurman and her former husband, Christopher Snow, the artist was also a great-grandson of the founders of the Menil Collection in Houston, Dominique de Menil and John de Menil, French aristocrats who were heirs to fortunes based in textiles and oil-drilling equipment (see Schlumberger). His maternal grandfather was Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman, his maternal grandmother was set and costume designer Christophe de Menil, and an aunt was actress Uma Thurman. He had brothers, Maxwell,and sister Caroline.
At the age of 18, Snow married Corsican-born artist Agathe Snow. They later split up, but never legally divorced. In July 2007 Dash’s then-girlfriend, travel magazine editor Jade Berreau, gave birth to his daughter, whom they named Secret Magic Nico. Snow lived alone in an apartment on the Bowery up until his death.
Dash Snow is known to have a number of tattoos done on his body by tattoo turned gallery artists Scott Campbell. And is also closely associated with other notable artists of the Downtown New York art scene and “The Bowery School” the likes of Nate Lowman, Dan Colen, and Ryan McGinley.
Snow’s legacy is perhaps epitomised by a now-notorious passage in a 2007 New York magazine profile: “[Charles] Saatchi got them a fancy hotel room on Piccadilly. They had to flee it in the middle of the night with their suitcases before it was discovered that they’d created one of their Hamster’s Nests… To make a Hamster’s Nest, Snow and [sculptor Dan] Colen shred up 30 to 50 phone books, yank around all the blankets and drapes, turn on the taps, take off their clothes, and do drugs—mushrooms, coke, ecstasy—until they feel like hamsters.”
Snow died on the evening of July 13, 2009 at Lafayette House, a hotel in lower Manhattan. His grandmother Christophe de Menil was quoted as saying that he died of a drug overdose. A New York Times article commented that Snow “met a junkie’s end but did so in a $325-a-night hotel room with an antique marble hearth.”
Take a look at Dash Snow’s artwork [*].