“Even if Dash doesn’t call it art, his stuff is just amazing and unique regardless,” says Colen. “It’s just like...him.”
The first time I laid eyes on Dash Snow he was bearded but beautiful in a platinum wig and an off-the-shoulder gold-and-purple-sequined sheath. It was Halloween, and everyone was smoking cigarettes at an underground bar near Washington Square Park at Courtney Love’s book party. Snow seemed cokey and amped up. Everyone who came up to greet him kissed him on the mouth, some of the girls with tongue. McGinley was wearing a homemade bear’s head and seemed eager to introduce me. “Hey,” said Snow, and became palpably paranoid. Soon thereafter he leaped out of his seat. “Okay. Let’s go back to my apartment. Just you and you and you and Dan,” he said, as Colen ambled up drunk as hell. Dan Colen is so tall the top of his head almost grazed the ceiling. His denim shirt was unbuttoned very low, and his eyes were bloodshot blue. “You can’t come,” Snow said to me. “I am not about trying to be rude. Do you smoke? Have a cigarette. I am not about being rude. But there may be illicit activity and you can’t be around. No, no. No, no, no. Maybe you can come by next week.”
But next week passed. And then another. Then one day the phone rang and it was McGinley, asking if I could be at an address in fifteen minutes. Snow and McGinley were waiting for me out on the fire escape in the gray sky above Bowery. Because of the butchered buzzer Snow had to come down to let me in. He greeted me with a hug and a kiss, as if it were his moral obligation to be affectionate even with someone who makes him feel edgy and on guard. Snow has long, greasy blond hair and a bum’s beard and, as always, he was wearing tight black jeans, a ripped T-shirt, and a black leather Martin Margiela vest he’d scored from a fashion shoot. He looked like the son of Jim Morrison and Jesus Christ.
Inside the apartment, there was no furniture but crap everywhere: an upturned chair, a mirror detached from a bureau, a broken guitar, scissors, a giant dollhouse. “It’s not a dollhouse, actually,” said Snow. “I liberated that from a community garden, stole it. It’s for birds.” On the wall were beautiful, ghostly amoebas on yellowed-paper backgrounds. “Those are spit circles,” said Snow. “I was sick, and I’d just wake up with a chest full of phlegm and spit all over the paper and make circles, you know? I’m not quite sure what I’m gonna do with those yet, but I like the way they’re coming out.”
McGinley was lying on the floor next to stacks of the New York Post and the Daily News with words and pictures cut out of them. “I’ve always been a big fan of the Post, and I remember in 1992, or whenever the fuck it was, Desert Storm, the Gulf War? Remember? I’d always read the Post, and there’d be really rad headlines about it,” said Snow. “I was just down for it! I’m down with anyone, even if they’re bad people, if they’re just, like, anti-American, you know what I mean? This is a series I’m working on,” he pointed at some collages on the wall with lots of pictures of Saddam Hussein, whose likeness is also tattooed on Snow’s arm. “They’re old headlines, and they all have come on them. Yeah, mine.”
Snow has been working with his own ejaculate a lot lately; his contribution to the Saatchi show was a piece called Fuck the Police, which featured sprays of his sperm on a collagelike installation of tabloid cutouts, headlines about corrupt cops.
McGinley and Snow shared a Budweiser and passed a cigarette back and forth. “Yo, look at that picture of Agathe over there,” said Snow. “This picture is completely rad. She doesn’t have her top teeth yet. The reason I fell in love with her is she was just like a pirate, you know? We’d go at night and walk through subway tunnels together. We’d be on the platform; I’d say, ‘Come on, let’s walk to the next station.’ We would come out covered in soot. She was just down!”