Photographs by Dash Snow.
Karma, 2011. 312 pp., black & white illustrations throughout, 9½x6¼".
“Loves roses” are glass tubes, 3/8 inches in diameter, 4 inches long. Covered on one end with foil, each contains a cloth flower: red, yellow, blue, violet, white or green. They are duplicitous objects. If you ask one kind of person, they’ll tell you these “stems” are romantic offerings, valentine’s gifts. If you ask another kind of person, they’ll tell you these are pipes for smoking crack cocaine.
In September 2008 at a palazzo gallery in Brescia, Italy, Dan Colen and Nate Lowman installed the third incarnation of an evolving body of collaborative work. A long-envisioned but, until Italy, unrealized plan for a sculpture had been a “beaded” curtain made of “love roses” (and titled the same). The curtain was hung in a doorway leading into the ornate spaces housing the rest of their show.
Dash snow arrived in Brescia when Colen and Lowman were finishing their installation. A close friend of the collaborators, snow had documented their shared process since its inception in 2007, and he continued here. As well-heeled Italian patrons (almost all of them women) arrived for the show’s opening night, snow began shooting photographs of them passing through love roses on their way into the galleries.
The piece created a theatrical plane through which snow could enter the partnership and break apart the odd boundaries of inclusivity and exclusivity inherent to art making and art consumption. In turn, this staging ground quickly provoked the visitors to make dramatic entrances. Every passage through love roses and across snow’s lens built on the collaborative armature – whether or not the participants were aware of the potential irony of the curtain or of the cumulative performance itself. At certain points, Lowman and Colen enter the frame of the photographs; at others, snow is visible in his simultaneously primary and tertiary role as auteur.
The three planned to create a book from the images as soon as they saw snow’s processed film in 2008, however snow passed away before they initiated the project. This book is made now through a collaboration of the dash snow estate, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, and Brendan Dugan.