The American artist Dan Colen (b. 1979, New Jersey) is to be represented by Dominique Lévy and Brett Gorvy. This marks a conjoining of galleries which also exhibit the artist’s work. In the past Gagosian and Massimo de Carlo, Milan had an exclusive deal with the artist.
“Having followed Colen’s career for some years, I’ve always been impressed by its conceptual range and extraordinary breadth” – Brett Gorvy
The gallery will have a close collaboration with the artist, to foster Colen’s work and its place within the broader discourse of contemporary art through curated exhibitions, publications, and commissioned scholarship and research. The gallery’s first exhibition with Colen will go on view in New York in March 2018, featuring three new bodies of work that navigate the zone of indeterminacy between abstraction and representation. Lévy Gorvy will also feature a major new painting by the artist, Purgatory (2017), in its booth at the upcoming Art Basel fair in Switzerland in June 2017.
Dominique Lévy commented: “Dan Colen is a leading figure of his generation of artists whose practice is deeply rooted in the history of painting. He challenges this heritage through an innovative approach to materiality, technique, and content that we find extraordinarily exciting. Dan is always determined to push the boundaries of painting as a medium, but his work also links painting to performance, theatre, sculpture, and poetry. That approach makes him a natural fit for Lévy Gorvy, as our program incorporates all of these aspects of art. The gallery’s entire team is thrilled to engage the intellectual depth, inventiveness, and sense of commitment that are converging in Dan’s latest series.”
Brett Gorvy remarked: “Having followed Colen’s career for some years, I’ve always been impressed by its conceptual range and extraordinary breadth. At his studio, Dominique and I were struck by how the changing daylight seemed to transform his Purgatory paintings. His unique understanding of painting and his approach to surface convinced us that there is a very special opportunity to work with Dan in a way that makes both the formal rigour and art historical richness of his work—his sources of references range from Philip Guston to the Old Masters— visible. It’s incredibly exciting to open up this artist’s private explorations to a new and broader public.”
Colen’s work spans painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and installation, Dan Colen’s oeuvre explores the tensions between figuration and abstraction, the abject and the sublime, the timely and the timeless. Colen’s earliest paintings investigate the forms and characters that populate our collective imagination. Today, he continues to probe cultural mythologies and archetypes in various media, appropriating imagery from animated films, mail-order catalogues, modernist abstraction, and street graffiti to create an artistic lexicon that insistently collapses the boundaries between high and low.
In 2006, Colen began making colourful and formally expressive paintings using chewing gum instead of paint, beginning a long period of material experimentation in which he mined and questioned various established historical styles—Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and Conceptualism, for example. That year, three of the artist’s megalithic rock sculptures featuring chewing gum and graffiti were included in the Whitney Biennial. Using flowers, dirt, grass, tar and feathers, Mylar confetti, and street trash, Colen’s abstract surfaces replicate street art, accumulations of bird droppings, and nonsensical slogans on monuments and public sites. His 2015 exhibition at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, presented a group of multicoloured abstract paintings done in bubblegum, bridging the gap between Abstract Expressionism and sidewalk detritus. Recent sculptural installations, such as Cracks in the Clouds (2010) at New York’s Seagram Building and At Least They Died Together (2014) at the Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT, imbue the spare language of Minimalism with emotional depth. Colen continues to pursue a variety of concerns with conceptual rigour, humour, and experimental innovation.
Dan Colen was born in 1979 in Leonia, New Jersey. He received his B.F.A. in 2001 from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. His work is held in various public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, Miami. Recent solo exhibitions include Help! at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Connecticut (2014); The L…o…n…g Count at the Walter De Maria Building, New York (2014); Psychic Slayer at the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Denmark (2015); Shake the Elbow at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2015); and Oil Painting at the Dallas Contemporary (2016). Colen’s work will be the subject of an exhibition in Asia in 2019.
The artist Dan Colen currently lives and works in New York.