Dash Snow. RIP

14 Jul
Polaroid By Dash Snow

Polaroid By Dash Snow

Dash Snow is one of those artists who was often more interesting than his art. From the semen paintings to the hamster rooms, he and an impressive set of co-conspirators were keeping the NY art scene alive. And, because some things never change, that scene had a lot to do with cocaine and heroin and sex and an aggressive sexual bisexuality that was as visceral as it could be without being deadly. Until now.

Honestly, what I’ve thought about Dash Snow for the longest time is that he is a modern Neal Cassady. Like Cassady, he was the living embodiment of a life lived “right” for a group of artists. Surrounded by guys like Ryan McGinley and Dan Cohen, he fed them the reality of a certain kind of life – a life lived high, fucked up, agro, loving porn stars and homeless vets and graffiti gurus with equal passion.

The thing I keep thinking about is this Bukowski quote about Cassady, who hung out with the infamous but unpublished hopeful author a few weeks before he died.  Of course I can’t find it, but it went something like, of course Kerouac wasn’t responsible, he wasn’t Cassady’s mother, didn’t do anything but tell the truth, but at the same time, he was completely responsible for shining a light on someone whose life wasn’t an art project.  (I’ll find it, I swear.)

So Cassady dies of exposure alone in the desert.  Snow apparently OD’d on heroin.  Both were self destructive muses who had art of their own, art that was marginalized by the more mainstream success of the artists surrounding them.  Maybe this has always been the case.  Maybe this was how it had to be for Dash Snow.  But I wonder about the artists who use, the vampiric nature of the art and literary worlds, and the ultimate destruction of a muse.

Mostly, I wish Snow had stuck around.  His Polaroids are astounding, capturing a trashy decadence with more accuracy than the thousand print ads that stole from him.

Dash Snow at Tiny Vices

Dash Snow in NY magazine

Dash Snow Obit in NY Times

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