Dash Snow’s Confrontational Collages Grace Celine

Dash Snow’s Confrontational Collages Grace Celine

The transgressive artist’s text works gain new life in Celine’s latest collaboration of art and couture.
The transgressive artist’s text works gain new life in Celine’s latest collaboration of art and couture.

W hen American artist Dash Snow died at only 27 in 2009, the art world lost one of the most talented practitioners of the era. Dash defined what was arguably the last defiant, inventive, visceral art moment in New York City. It makes sense that his contemporary Hedi Slimane – known for his iconoclastic approach to fashion – choose to use his work in the Delusional Daydream collection at Celine Homme.

Snow was a seminal figure in the 2000s art scene documented by Slimane. Undeniably rebellious, Snow was born into one of America’s richest and most prominent art-collecting families, the De Menils. Nonetheless, he lived on New York’s streets from age 15, spending two years in juvenile detention. As part of the Irak crew, he became well known for his graffiti, scrawling SACE across the city. His polaroid photos of this era echo works by Larry Clark – an artist equally embedded in the underground scene he represented. Snow’s images were raw, hedonistic, playful, punk and melancholic. Snow was quickly exhibiting in the Whitney Biennial, central to “USA Today,” Charles Saatchi’s 2006 exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, and Slimane’s “Sweet Bird of Youth” at Arndt & Partner Berlin in 2007, while also gaining coverage in publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine and Dazed.

Dash Snow, Living Out Their Dream Tonight (2006), Man, Myth & Magic (2005), Untitled (2007), Without a Trace (2007). Images courtesy the Dash Snow Archive

This work was confrontational and corporal: There was the installation of ripped-up phone books, alcohol and bodily fluids entitled “Nest” at Deitch Projects; a salon-hang of newspaper cuttings about American police corruption covered in the artist’s semen; sculptural assemblages made from hats, skulls, Hells Angels ephemera and found books. Snow’s work held a destructive power – it was a poetic middle finger to societal norms, racism and political power.

Items from Celine Homme’s Delusional Daydream collection quote Dash Snow’s text-collages. Images courtesy Hedi Slimane

Collage was the heart of his approach. Snow created sensitive compositions of words and imagery piled on each other like paper totems. This is the work at the heart of Celine’s Delusional Daydream – texts re-presented on t-shirts, knitwear, leather jackets and embroidered tailored jackets. Perhaps the experience of creating graffiti gave Snow a unique awareness of the meaning in words and lettering. Although he cut up fonts in a way reminiscent of Jamie Reid’s work for the Sex Pistols, his aesthetic was closer to Dada or counter-cultural photomontage. It was something more emotional, thought out and contemporary. He took headlines and words from the tabloid New York Post and the occult pulp publication Man, Myth and Magic. There was nothing elitist or hierarchical in what Snow did. He took high and low sources and made them into poetry.

Items from Celine’s Delusional Daydream collection quote Dash Snow’s text-collages. Images courtesy Hedi Slimane

“Dash was making collages all the time,” recalls his last partner, Jade Berreau, who also manages his estate. “He was a big collector. His studio was filled with references and inspirational material. He would have stacks and stacks of these magazines and newspapers. Every day he went out and bought a Post and read it and clipped it. There used to be this shop, Gallagher’s. It was like a maze of stacks of magazines – he would spend hours in there. Or if we were in Paris, or a different city like LA. The bigger part of the process was sourcing.”

This menswear collection with Celine follows similar collaborations with equally respected artists such as Banks Violette and Christian Marclay. The brand has also put together the Celine Art Project, an impressive collection, curated by Hedi Slimane, of almost 250 site-specific artworks exhibited at the fashion house’s international flagships. Celine has made materiality, form and the contemporary avant garde central to what they do. As Berreau notes, “it keeps the work relevant to a different audience. It does expose it to his work to people who might not necessarily have cared otherwise.” This collaboration is a catalyst for discovery.

Contemporary Art

About the Author

More from Sotheby's

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

arrow Created with Sketch. Back To Top