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  • Source: The New York Times
  • Author: Holland Cotter
  • Date: Oct. 13, 2006


Dash Snow

Until recently, Dash Snow has been best known for his snapshots of a drunk and disorderly art bohemia, the kind of work that can too easily develop into a chronic case of lifestyle-itis, as in the example of Nan Goldin. Then, in the Whitney Biennial, he gave us something a little different, a mixed-media assemblage. In this solo show he gives us different again: 60 or so small collages.

From the cardboard supports to the images cut from magazines and newspapers, the material already looks old and smoke-browned, as if it had done time in the street. The content is simultaneously hot and inscrutable. Swastikas and pornography, Jesus, Osama bin Laden and Allen Ginsberg — all share tight quarters.

With their blend of eschatological rant, pop reference and unemphatic misogyny, the collages could serve as illustrations for Ginsberg’s “Howl.” And their use of cut-and-paste language, with various texts interwoven as if two or more voices were simultaneously singing lyrics to separate songs, is their single most engaging element.

It is also what feels most original in work that visually goes few places that Dada hasn’t already been. That’s O.K. If a young artist is searching for models, extreme Dada is an excellent choice. What’s encouraging is how far Mr. Snow, who is in his 20’s, has moved in such a short time, focusing and shaping a chafed, loose-cannon energy without reducing it.