Dan Colen

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Dan Colen
Daniel Colen

1979 (age 42–43)
Leonia, New Jersey, U.S.
Alma materRhode Island School of Design
Known forPainting

Daniel Colen (born 1979) is an American artist based in New York. His work consists of painted sculptures appropriating low-cultural ephemera, graffiti-inspired paintings of text executed in paint, and installations.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1979 and raised in Leonia, New Jersey.[1][2] His father, Sy Colen, a wood and clay sculptor, was a participant in the 2006 reality TV show Artstar. Colen attended Solomon Schechter Day School, and was raised Jewish.[3] Colen graduated with a B.F.A. in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001.[4] After graduation he moved to the East Village in Manhattan, and by June 2006 he became a known artist.[3]

Colen was close friends with artists Dash Snow and Ryan McGinley.[5] In 2007, Snow and Colen shredded phone books in Jeffrey Deitch’s SoHo gallery for an installation called Nest or Hamster Nest.[6][7] He was described by The Guardian as a "bad boy of post-pop New York".[8] When Snow died in 2009 of a heroin overdose, Colen was greatly impacted and said he was determined to end his own addiction.[6][8]


Colen’s work has been exhibited at galleries including Deitch Projects, Gagosian Gallery (2006) and Gladstone Gallery in New York, Peres Projects in Berlin, as well as Venus and OHWOW in Los Angeles.[citation needed] 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,[9] “Fantastic Politics” at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo and “No Me” at Peres Projects in Berlin. In 2011 he had a solo show at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, Norway.

In his work, Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors: My Friend Dash’s Wall in the Future (2004), Colen built an exact replica of a section of poster, photo and flyer-covered wall from friend Dash Snow's apartment.[10] Each piece of visual material was handmade and attached to a Styrofoam copy of the wall.

His works are held in the collection of the Saatchi Gallery,[11] the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art.


  1. ^ Haramis, Nick. "Everything & Nothing: Dan Colen Reveals There Are Two Sides to Every Story" Archived 2010-12-23 at the Wayback Machine, BlackBook (magazine), October 1, 2010. Accessed March 31, 2011."The 31-year-old artist was born in Leonia, New Jersey, where, as a teenager, he befriended photographer Ryan McGinley at their local skate park."
  2. ^ Whitney Biennial 2006 - Artists, Whitney Museum of Art. Accessed March 31, 2011. "Born 1979, Leonia, New Jersey; lives in New York, New York"
  3. ^ a b Fischel, Jack R. (2008). Encyclopedia of Jewish American Popular Culture. ABC-CLIO. pp. 68–69. ISBN 9780313087349.
  4. ^ "Afterparty". RISD XYZ Magazine. issuu: Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Winter 2018. p. 13. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  5. ^ "Chasing Dash Snow". NYMag.com. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  6. ^ a b "Dan Colen". Interview Magazine. 2010-08-17. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  7. ^ Feuer, Alan; Salkin, Allen (2009-07-24). "Death and Life of Dash Snow, Artist, Addict and Provocateur". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  8. ^ a b Helmore, Edward (2014-05-09). "Dan Colen: how the bad boy of New York art discovered the good life". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  9. ^ "Whitney Biennial 2006 :: Day for Night". whitney.org.
  10. ^ "Something to chew on". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2020-03-07.
  11. ^ "Dan Colen - Artist - Saatchi Gallery". www.saatchigallery.com.

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