Anthony Haden-Guest gets his oar into the Dash Snow phenomenon on The Daily Beast and provides some valuable context. Where so many focus on Snow’s status as the member of a wealthy family, Haden-Guest looks at the de Menil patrimony in the art world.
He goes on to point out another important observation that Snow did little to present himself as an ambitious artist. Many may have invested themselves in the idea of Snow as a meaningful artist but not Snow himself:
What lent the Dash Snow story its special dimension, a dark resonance, is that Dominique and her husband were world class art collectors. They were purists, true believers in the spiritual function of art.
The de Menils housed their collection in a Renzo Piano building which they opened in 1987. They had three daughters and a son, all of whom have lived art-penetrated lives. One of the daughters, Philippa, and her husband Heiner Friedrich funded the Dia Foundation, which opened in 1974, and which itself funds such Sacred Spaces of post-war art as Walter de Maria’s Lightning Field in Albuquerque and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jerry on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. And it was another daughter, Christophe, a designer and greatly liked presence in the art world, who made the official announcement of her grandson’s death. He had, she said, recently been in rehab.
With such a family mythos—incidentally, Snow’s maternal grandfather, Robert Thurman, runs Tibet House, making Uma Thurman his aunt—it might have seemed preordained that Snow would enter the art world in some manner or other. But, unlike Colen and McGinley who were determined to make art careers, Snow had no such ambitions. But both Colen and McGinley saw that Snow’s raw, messy work—the Polaroids that envelop you in something like Nan Goldin’s young bohemia, a Downtownscape of affectless squalor and non-committal sex, the tabloid collages—was a good fit in a marketplace hungry for the raw, the messy (Think Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy). So Dash Snow became an artist. And an increasingly noticed one.
Remembering Dash Snow (Anthony Haden-Guest)