Dan Colen/ Daniel Colen

United States 1979

Installation, Sculpture, Painting

Dan Colen
Daniel Colen
United States

Dan Colen, an American artist based in New York City, creates visually engaging pieces consisting of painted sculptures, graffiti-inspired paintings of text executed in paint as well as installations and performance. He draws inspiration from mass media, local subcultures, and sources such as Walt Disney movies and cartoons. Dan combines the feel of real life with reflections on the imaginary subjects and worlds. His carefully painted surfaces replicate graffiti and use controversial materials such as bird dropping and absurd slogans from the news. The artist’s most famous artworks are his green-splattered oil pieces Bird Shit from 2007 and No Sex No War No Me from 2006.

In terms of the current American foundation policy on the privacy of the artist, Colen's approach isn't traditional
Dan Colen – Yet To Be Titled, 2010

Early Biography and Career Establishing

Daniel Colen was born in 1979 and raised in Leonia, New Jersey. He graduated with a BFA from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, in his home country, in 2001. Colen descends from a family of makers — for instance, his father makes sculptures with wood and clay, while his grandfather was a mechanic and inventor. Due to this influence within his close family at home, it is not overly surprising that Colen is also interested in artistic constructions. He has learned from the creative members of his family not to focus so much on formal perfection as on an intuitive process and share of the discovery. I was often told it’s not about virtuosity, it’s about commitment, recalls the artist. When it comes to his own career, Colen became a full-time artist after his graduation from RISD. He was never interested in regular sculpture – instead, he chose to follow his own gut feeling and make some non-traditional art. For instance, in his In Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors: My Friend Dash’s Wall in the Future from 2004, Colen built a realistic replica of a section of an untitled poster, photo and flyer-covered wall from his friend Dash Snow’s apartment. Each piece of visual material used in this work was handmade and consequently glued onto a Styrofoam copy of the wall. In 2006, Colen started to adopt another approach and he abandoned the typical processes altogether in order to start using chewing gum instead of paint. Around the same time, he also started to incorporate flowers, pictures, dirt, grass, tar and feathers, Mylar confetti, street trash, and metal studs into his work. He decided to completely liberate his approach to art, instead of allowing the final result to be guided by the behavior of the given material. In 2015, the artist claimed that he found the loss of control exciting experience, as if the paintings themselves were becoming wild and unpredictable.

Colen descends from a family of makers — for instance, his father makes sculptures with wood and clay

In terms on the artist early life, he had a lot of contact with inventors and their artistic policy
Dan Colen – Infinite Jest, 2012

Main Exhibitions of Popular American Artist, Daniel Colen

By using debris from the streets to paint cans and similar objects, Daniel Colen reclaims and transforms the everyday items and activities. His outstanding work has been exhibited at major galleries including Deitch Projects, Gagosian Gallery in 2006 and Barbara Gladstone Gallery in New York, Peres Projects in Berlin, and OHWOW in Los Angeles. He has shown work internationally in many exhibitions including Potty Mouth, Potty War, Pot Roast, Pot is a Reality Kick at Gagosian Gallery in New York, USA Today at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the 2006 Whitney Biennial in New York, Fantastic Politics at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo and No Me at Peres Projects in Berlin. Year 2011 was very important and successful for the artist since he had a solo show in Europe – at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, Norway. His works are nowadays held in the collection of the highly influential Saatchi Gallery, The Whitney Museum, and The Astrup Fearnley Museum.

By using debris from the streets to paint cans and similar objects, Daniel Colen reclaims and transforms the everyday items into gallery exhibited masterpieces

The artist has appeared in a popular saatchi news channel with his untitled smoke work
Dan Colen – To Be Titled, 2013

Capturing Magic Involved with the Ordinary

Daniel Colen creates mixed-media, sculptural, and painted art that emphasize the magic within seemingly ordinary and undervalued everyday objects. From the very start, Dan Colen’s philosophy investigate the important question such as to what extent does art come from the artist, and to what extent does it arise independent of the creator? In his most iconic artworks, Colen was interested in precise oil depictions of interiors like apartment bathrooms, bedrooms, and camping tents into which he introduced supernatural characters — the Blue Fairy, Jesus Christ and even his deceased grandfather. In such a way, the artist was always floating between the two worlds, the real and the imaginary one, looking to make a unique artistic bridge between them.

The artist is represented by Gagosian and Massimo De Carlo.

Dan Colen lives and works in New York.

Featured image: Daniel Colen’s Portrait – Photo Credits Matteo Prandoni
All other images courtesy of Gagosian.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Fresh CutsEric Firestone Gallery, East HamptonGroup
2016Dan Colen: When I'm GoneGagosian Gallery, Central, Hong KongSolo
2016Dan Colen: First they exchanged anecdotes and inclinationsVito Schnabel, New YorkSolo
2014 Alter Abolish Address5x5: 2014, Washington, D C Group
2014 CLEARGagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA Group
2014 Le Jardin Décomposé - Decomposed Garden. Gagosian Gallery, Le Bourget, Paris, France Group
2014Help! The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CT Solo
2014Broadway Morey Boogie. Montefiore Square, presented by Marlborough Chelsea, New York, NY Group
2014 Dan Colen: Miracle PaintingsGagosian Gallery, W 24th Street, New York, NY Solo
2013 Dan Colen: The Illusion of Life Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland Solo
2013 Dan Colen: The spirits that I calledOko, New York, NY Solo
2013 The Show is OverGagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, London, England 2Group
2013Meanwhile… Suddenly and Then12th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France Group
2012 Cracks in the Clouds, Seagram Building, New York, NY Solo
2012 In Living Color FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY Solo
2012 Blowin’ in the Wind Gagosian Gallery, Athens, Greece Solo
2012 Out of the Blue, Into the Black Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France Solo
2012 Blowin’ in the Wind Karma, New York, NY Solo
2012 Holy Crap! The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NY Group
2012 Joe Bradley and Dan Colen: EpiphanyGavin Brown Enterprises, New York, NY Group
2011OH! Galerie Patrick Seguin, Paris, France Group
2011 Grisaille Part IILuxembourg & Dayan, New York, NY Group
2011 Ray's a LaughHalf Gallery, New York, NY Group
2011Invitation to the VoyageAlgus Greenspon, New York, NY Group
2011 Love Roses National Exemplar Gallery, New York, NY Group
2011 George Herms: Xenophilia (Love of the Unknown) Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA Group
2011 Post 9-11 OH WOW, Los Angeles, CA Group
2011 The Art of WitPaddle 8, New York, NY Group
2011 TrashGagosian Gallery, Rome, Italy Solo
2011Unpainted PaintingsLuxembourg and Dayan, New York, NY Group
2011 Don't Do It Etc Galerie Bruno Bischofberger AG, Zurich, Switzerland Group
2011 Oh God!Massimo de Carlo, Palazzo Rospigliosi, Rome, Italy Solo
2011 Come Out, Come Out, Wherever you areCarlson Gallery, London, England Solo
2011 PeanutsAstrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway Solo
2011 New York MinuteGarage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia Group
2011 Grisaille Part I Luxembourg and Dayan, London, England Group
2010 Art ColognePeres Projects Cologne, Berlin, Germany Group
2010 Dan ColenGagosian Gallery, West 24th Street, New York, NY Solo
2010 KarmaGalleria Massimo De Carlo, Milano, Italy Solo
2010Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou CollectionCurated by Jeff Koons The New Museum, New York, NY Group
2009 Dan Colen, An Allegory Of Faith… Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street, London, England Solo
2009 The Living & the Dead Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, NY Group
2009Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture Saatchi Gallery, London, England Group
2009MinneapolisPeres Projects, Los Angeles, CA Group
2009 New York Minute Curated by Kathy Grayson Macro Future Museum, Roma, Italy Group
2009 SloughDavid Nolan Gallery, New York, NY Group
2008Substraction Deitch Projects, New York, NY Group
2008Dan Colen, I live There… Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street, London, England Solo
2008 Closing Down Sale Michelle Maccarone, New York, NY Group
2008Wet Pain, Step BrotherPalazzo Gallery, Brescia, Italy Group
2008The UnforgivenStellan Holm Gallery, New York, NY Group
2008 Sack of BonesAsia Song Society, New York, NY Group
2008 Meet Me Around the Corner - Works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway Group
2007Absent Without Leave Victoria Miro Gallery, London, England Group
2007Last Attraction Next Exit. Curated by Neville Wakefield Max Wigram Gallery, London, England Group
2007 Pop art isGagosian Gallery, London, England Group
2007DeitchDeste Foundation Centre For Contemporary Art, Athens, GreeceGroup
2007Beyond Zero Peres Projects, Athens, Greece Group
2007Beneath the UnderdogGagosian Gallery, New York, NY Group
2007 GenerationArt Gallery of Alberta, Canada Group
2007USA TodayRoyal Academy, London.Group
2007 Unholy TruthInitial Access, Manchester, England Group
2007 Sweet Bird of YouthCurated by Heidi Slimane Arndt & Partner, Zurigo Group
2007 NestDeitch Projects, New York, NY Group
2007 Fractured Figure - Works from the Dakis Joannou CollectionCurated by Jeffrey Group
2006 NO MEPeres Projects, Berlin, Germany Solo
2006Mid-Life Crisis - Curated by Ivana Salander and Tara Subkoff. Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York, NY Group
2006Defamation of Character. Curated by Neville WakefieldPS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY Group
2006Infinite Painting - Curated by Francesco Bonami. Villa Manin-Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariane, Cedreipe, Italy Group
2006 Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash’s Wall in the future)Deitch Projects, New York, NY Solo
2006Axis of Praxis - Curated by Nate Lowman. Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN Group
2006Infinite Painting - curated by Francesco Bonami and Sarah Cosulich Canarutto. Villa Manin-Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano, Codroipo 3Group
2006 Fantastic Politics — Art in Times of CrisisNational Museum for Art, Architecture & Design, Oslo, Norway Group
2006 Survivor (organized by David Rimanelli) Bortolami Dayan, New York Group
2006 Dan Colen Peres Projects, Los Angeles, California Solo
2006 Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night - Curated by Chrissie Iles & Philippe Vergne. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY Group
2006 Potty Mouth, Potty War, Pot Roast, Pot is a Reality KickGagosian Gallery, West 24th Street, New York, NY Solo
2005 The Armory Show - Curated by Neville Wakefield. Peres Projects, New York Group
2005 Interstate Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York Group
2005 Bridge Freezes Before RoadBarbara Gladstone Gallery, New York Group
2004Art Works for Hard MoneyGavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York Group
2004Art Basel MiamiPeres Projects, Miami, FL. Group
2003 Seven Days Always Seemed Like A Bit Of An Exaggeration Rivington Arms, New York, NY Solo
2003 New YorkGalerie du Jour, Paris, France Group
2003 40 Views of an IconComme de Garcons Group
2002 First ShowRivington Arms, New York, NY Group