Born 1979, Leonia, New Jersey; lives in New York, New York

"A brick wall in a school yard, a teenage symphony for god, a friend's black leather couch that I brought many late nights to a close on, America's southern landscape, Brancusi, a Styrofoam wall, a loft above a garage, a vampire's picnic, New Jersey backyards, news, mews, pews, brews, stews, and dues." Such a litany reveals some of the potent inspirations for painter and sculptor Dan Colen's aesthetic of charmed excess. More specifically, this torrent of allusions refers to a sculpture the artist made for the 2005 group exhibition Bridge Freezes Before Road. Derived in part from a detail of Jeff Wall's photograph The Vampire's Picnic (1991), it consisted of a stagelike platform populated by discarded and crafted objects, including a mangled chair with a large sign declaring "DRUGS," a truck tire, and a monstrous B-movie-style cockroach prop; the entire piece was shored up with heavily graffitied wooden planks to create a tableau of degradation. Looking like a piece of scenery from a theatrical production of William Burroughs's Naked Lunch, Colen's mise-en-scène of trash lay somewhere between an evocation of somebody else's squalid reality and an intoxicating fiction.


...read more about this artist in the Biennial Catalogue

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Untitled, 2004–5. Papier-mâché, Styrofoam, felt, oil paint, wood, and steel, 96 x 108 x 96 in. (243.8 x 274.3 x 243.8 cm). Collection of Frank Cohen Museum of Contemporary Art, Manchester; courtesy Peres Projects, Los Angeles