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Dan Colen

Poetry

September 10–October 16, 2010
West 24th Street, New York

Installation view, photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view, photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

Installation view Photo by Rob McKeever

About

This show has a lot to do with failure and potential, accident and intention, and time at its most minute and most infinite. It’s about how powerful a single simple gesture can be.
Dan Colen

Gagosian is pleased to present Dan Colen’s first major solo exhibition in New York. This follows his two-part exhibition “I Live There”/“An Allegory of Faith” at Gagosian Gallery Davies Street in 2009 and the surreptitious exhibition “Potty Mouth Potty War” in the bathrooms of Gagosian Gallery West 24th Street in 2006.

Drawing from mass media, local environment, and subculture, Colen’s art imbues the ordinary, the disenfranchised, and the tribal with provocative new status. Working from personal experience with subjects overlooked or considered rogue and delinquent by art and society, he explores the very essence of dichotomy through risk and affect, juggling immediacy of expression with technical perfection. Slipperiness of meaning results in his painstaking reconstruction of ‘what might have been’; in paintings whose apparent incidental qualities—from showered confetti and heavily accreted bird droppings to scrawled song lyrics, random thoughts, and absurd slogans—are, in fact, the result of expert and painstaking brush technique over equally obsessively crafted surfaces; in sculptures that feign the inadvertent monuments and sites on which popular culture inscribes its voices and traces; and in the inverse play of editing, subcontracting, stealing, and transposing.

In this exhibition, Colen adds a further layer of complexity to his meditations on the mimetic nature of art by moving even closer to the reality from which he has always drawn inspiration. Real life, with its social habits and strong aesthetic preferences, seems to be so perfectly and potently designed that the only possible role open to him is as choreographer of single, bold, and exquisite acts of transformation. The scale of his new works and the spaces that house them befit this more resolute embrace of reality and its uncertainties.

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