Dan Colen - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, May 17, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Peres Projects, Berlin/Los Angeles
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “When I first started, the canvases were very sparse…It slowly developed into a more elaborate and involved process. I started adding a lot more gum to each canvas; I would put pieces down, pick them up again, move ’em around, stretch them out, mush ’em together, and mix flavors to create new colors.”
    Dan Colen, 2008

    Dan Colen’s penchant for unusual mediums has found its paradigm in bubble gum. Taking his cues from the Pop Art greats of the past, Colen redirects the Pop project: while Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and others have chosen to make culture and color their subjects, Colen’s approach is to use subject as medium—to investigate the boundaries of painting by using chewing gum as his element of choice. Plentitudes of hot pinks, pale greens and soft yellows criss-cross their elongated bodies across his canvases, exuding a raw elegance with fascinating depth. In doing so, Colen creates a new tradition; one where he transforms the masticated and the grotesque into a vehicle for abstract beauty.

    While Colen’s medium has long since hardened on the surface of his canvas, it retains its pastel glow. And, while the composition of the piece might appear haphazardly thrown together, perhaps even intentionally random, Colen’s work conjures the methodical genius of Jackson Pollock, whose careful distribution of a single hue had the power to unite a work in its chromatic entirety. Towards the center of the canvas, Colen’s delicious medium weighs down upon its surface in an orgy of melted color, seductively tactile from the viewpoint of the observer. In addition to his elevation of a normally discarded medium, Colen gives to us a special kind of nostalgia in his kitsch: memories of a sticky nuisance on summer boardwalks and city benches, magically molded to retain its sweetness even after it has lost its taste.

  • 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.

    View More Works



chewing gum and gum wrappers on canvas, in artist's frame
canvas 40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm.)
frame 42 x 32 in. (106.7 x 81.3 cm.)

Signed "Dan Colen" on a label affixed to the reverse of the backing board. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $305,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York 17 May 2013 10am