Lévy Gorvy to Co-Represent Dan Colen, the Reformed ‘Bad Boy’ of New York’s Art World

Colen is the youngest artist to join the gallery's stable.

Dan Colen. Photo by Marco Anelli. © Marco Anelli. Courtesy of Lévy Gorvy. Photograph by Marco Anelli

Lévy Gorvy, the Upper East Side gallery led by Dominique Lévy and former Christie’s rainmaker Brett Gorvy, has announced an unlikely addition to its roster: contemporary art star Dan Colen. The gallery will represent Colen in partnership with his two current galleries, Gagosian and Milan-based Massimo de Carlo.

Lévy Gorvy, which formed when Gorvy joined Lévy’s gallery as a partner late last year, has become known for representing blue-chip artists and prestigious estates and for mounting important art historical shows. Colen—who the Guardian has described as “the bad boy of New York art” and whose life of excess in the pre-recession downtown art scene was chronicled in a notorious New York magazine story—is, at 37, the youngest artist in the gallery’s stable.

“In close collaboration with the artist, Lévy Gorvy will foster Colen’s work and its place within the broader discourse of contemporary art through curated exhibitions, publications, and commissioned scholarship and research,” the gallery said in a statement. Colen’s first show there will open in March 2018.

Dan Colen, <i>Purgatory</i> (2017). Courtesy the artist and Lévy Gorvy.

Dan Colen, Purgatory (2017). Courtesy the artist and Lévy Gorvy.

Notably, Lévy told ARTnews, which first reported the news, that “the exhibition he has conceived for our space could not be for the other galleries.” At the Art Basel fair later this month, Lévy Gorvy will exhibit one of the artist’s major new works, Purgatory (2017).

Colen’s work, which spans painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and installation, embraces both figuration and abstraction. He burst on the scene in 2006 with his “chewing gum” paintings—canvases covered in chewed gum that looked from afar like splatters of paint—and has experimented with materials including dirt, tar and feathers, confetti and street trash.

In a statement, Lévy called Colen “a leading figure of his generation of artists whose practice is deeply rooted in the history of painting.” Gorvy said, “Having followed Colen’s career for some years, I’ve always been impressed by its conceptual range and extraordinary breadth.”

Colen has had recent exhibitions at the Brant Foundation Study Art Center in Connecticut and the Walter De Maria Building in New York (both of which are owned by the collector Peter Brant, a major booster of Colen’s work) as well as the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art in Denmark, the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo and at Dallas Contemporary.

According to the artnet Price Database, more than 150 of Colen’s works have been offered at auction. Of these, the top seller is Boo Fuck’n Hoo, a 2006 oil on canvas that sold for more than $3 million ($3.077 million) at Christie’s New York in May 2014. Another work that sold above $1 million was a 2008 chewing gum painting titled 53rd & 3rd that sold for $1.085 million at Sotheby’s New York in May 2013.

Update: This article originally misstated Colen’s age as 39. He is 37. 

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