25 January 2010

Taking Offense (3) ~ Dash Snow, Again

Today The Guardian has run this essay and slide show exploring the intersection of two things I find (at best) mystifying: Polaroids and tortured artists who (abetted by various perpetrators and hangers on) squander their lives in paroxysms of self-pity. Call me wholly unsympathetic. The "work" is banal and simply confirms my view that Dash Snow was a poseur with a trust fund, nothing more. In The Guardian piece Sean O'Hagan seems perplexed:
"It is one of the defining tropes of contemporary pop culture that everything illicit should be paraded rather than engaged in discreetly. Everything is not just permitted, but must be photographed, filmed, and posted on the web. In this context, Dash Snow is very much an artist of our times.

Often his photographs seem to celebrate drabness and/or clutter. Grimy bathrooms and dishevelled living rooms abound. The activity he records tends towards the puerile of the criminal, or both. There are snapshots of kids shooting up, kids snorting coke (in one instance on a flaccid penis), kids puking, tagging, flashing and falling down. Blood, nudity, graffiti and cocaine are the recurring themes, as well as Dash himself, the unsteady centre around whom all this determined dissolution is played out. There is desperation in all this too, but it is the now-familiar desperation of the self-indulgently confessional: Nan Goldin without the brilliant composition, the heightened colour or the underlying poetic sadness.

[. . .]

The question is, though, do they amount to anything else? Do they approach the mystery and mastery of art?"

Are you kidding me? If O'Hagan can't answer that question he's got no business hanging out his critic shingle.

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