Death and More Death – Dash Snow’s ‘I Love You Stupid’

Art shouldn’t be a product of the art world, but a product of the world world.

 

By Owen Campbell

I told my friend I was reading Glenn O’Brien’s intro essay to Dash Snow’s I Love You, Stupid. He said he always thought Dash Snow was a shitty artist and immediately exited Gchat. I never found out why he thought Dash Snow was a shitty artist. O’Brien, however, presents an enlightening, if heuristic, theoretical line: “Art shouldn’t be a product of the art world, but a product of the world world.” Most people, in practice anyway, evidently disagree with O’Brien’s value judgment yet lend credence to his diagnosis by embracing it’s exact opposite. The mind that suprematizes the discourse about art, and art about the discourse about art, struggles to recognize art born from the rituals of the world as art at all. Photography goes a long way towards obviating the distinction between art made from the art world and art made from the world world, which is why it’s position amongst the arts had always been doubted.

Snow’s photographs and O’Brien’s introduction (really more of a eulogy) remind me of the more delinquent friends and family from my childhood. Our relationships, at least on my end, were typically colored by my jealousy of their apparent lack of a superego, their self-mythologizing, self-absorption and inward-facing Romanticism. I wasn’t prepared to be so (self)destructive anyway; it is a child’s game, that’s why these types of men die at thirty or change. Either way it ends as a sad story, if you can muster the sympathy.

 

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@ The Estate of Dash Snow and Courtesy DAP

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@ The Estate of Dash Snow and Courtesy DAP

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@ The Estate of Dash Snow and Courtesy DAP

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@ The Estate of Dash Snow and Courtesy DAP

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@ The Estate of Dash Snow and Courtesy DAP

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@ The Estate of Dash Snow and Courtesy DAP

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@ The Estate of Dash Snow and Courtesy DAP

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@ The Estate of Dash Snow and Courtesy DAP

 

 

Dash snow’s photos, however, are of a youth that contains not the seeds but the fruit of death.

 

Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.

A quote from Camera Lucida: Barthes recalls looking at a photograph of his mother as a girl; he shudders as he thinks, “she is going to die” – but, at the time of Barthes’ looking, she was already dead. He follows this thought with, “whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.” I had misremembered this section as the more quotable, roughly equivalent: all photos say the same thing, “this person is going to die.”

This is true, of course, if every photo is strictly interrogated. Yet pictures of youth suggest the opposite, and rarely are they questioned on their evasion. As in Ryan McGinely’s work, they hint, suggest, insist, however untrue or misdirected, that with their pagan beauty this subject may live forever. Dash snow’s photos, however, are of a youth that contains not the seeds but the fruit of death. Looking now, they tell you: this person is dead. Once, more than this person is going to die, they said you are watching this person die. They are images of a walking death where eros and thanatos are not at odds but complimentary, a life strung together from death and more death until you run out of death and die.

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I Love You Stupid
Dash Snow
DAP

 

Owen Campbell is an an artist and writer from Wilkinsburg, PA.

FOLLOW on Twitter @OwynnKampbell and at http://artbasel.us/

 

 

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(All rights reserved. Text @ Owen Campbell. Images @ the Estate of Dash Snow.)

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