Text by Douglas Fogle, Contribution by Dimitri Chamblas
This book celebrates two new performance pieces and a recent body of paintings by the artist, drawing on desert landscapes, Road Runner cartoons, and Hollywood Westerns.
Bursting with full-color plates and performance stills suffused in a rich desert palette, this volume was published on the occasion of an exhibition of new paintings by Dan Colen and the accompanying premiere of two performance pieces created in collaboration with choreographer Dimitri Chamblas.
Colen's Desert Paintings (2015-19) are lush yet schematic interpretations of stills from Chuck Jones's animated shorts featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. These unpopulated depictions of the cartoons' arid settings recall hard-edge abstraction, biomorphic landscapes by Georgia O'Keeffe, and popular art forms such as stage sets, billboards, and the Hollywood Western. The American cowboys who might inhabit these scenes were brought to life in two performances Colen presented with the Desert Paintings as a backdrop. In At Least They Died Together and Carry On Cowboy, figures in full Western regalia repeatedly performed a stylized, convulsive death on a mound of dirt in the gallery. In an insightful essay, Douglas Fogle explores the works' rich interplay of allusions, ultimately placing them in the context of the modern human condition.
About The Author
Douglas Fogle is an independent curator and writer. Choreographer Dimitri Chamblas collaborated with Dan Colen on the performance pieces At Least They Died Together and Carry On Cowboy (both 2018).