Dan Colen - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    I started working with gum because it was just on those rock sculptures; it was like another piece of evidence that someone was here…similar to the marks on a skate ramp, those are the proof that the skateboarders were there...The paintings came out of those.

    (Dan Colen, in H. Beate Ueland and G. Årbu, “Dan Colen Interview”, Astrup Fearnley Museum, video, October 2010).

    Comprised of chewing gum on canvas, the present lot, S&M, 2010, encapsulates the ingenious playfulness and unabashed rebellious nature of Dan Colen’s artistic practice. Resonating with cool self-awareness, Colen investigates notions of randomness and accidental gestures through a multimedia approach. The original process of Colen’s chewing gum works proved painstakingly slow, recruiting friends and studio assistants to chew pieces of gum before applying the individual pieces to canvas. The artist quickly revised this method in favor of producing larger pieces of gum that could be readily spread over a surface. S&M, 2010, is exemplary of Colen’s innovation, conveying a striking lightness; a colorful field of warm and cool colors blissfully performing, each piece encountering the next in a series of unique and spontaneous gestures.

    S&M, 2010, evokes powerful references to the artistic heritage of New York painters; Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Neo-Expressionism. Here however, the sweeping, sumptuous, palate of colors that cover the canvas deliver an unexpected sent of saccharine tropical fruit rather than a scent of oil varnish. In this way, S&M, 2010, can be interpreted as deflating the monumentality of canonical artworks. In the same way that artists are often contextualized within art movements, Dan Colen opts to explore cliques, adolescence, delinquency, and the clash of subcultures; resulting in the conflating of high and low. The gesture of applying a piece of gum to a canvas as opposed to an accumulation of gum stuck under a desk.

  • Artist Biography

    Dan Colen

    American • 1979

    American artist Dan Colen has spent most of his career asking himself questions about the editorial decisions artists have to make when creating a scene from scratch on canvas. In his early work, Colen painted mundane interiors punctuated with fantastical elements. This manifested as part of a growing curiosity in the ethereal or divine intervention.

    Colen subsequently stepped away from paint as material and started using found objects as mediums with which to paint. Among these, Colen has used chewing gum, street trash, confetti, feathers, flowers and dirt. This methodology allows Colen to abandon control and create in a more free-form, subconscious manner.

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S & M

chewing gum on canvas
72 x 48 in. (182.9 x 121.9 cm)
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $578,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

15 November 2012
New York