New York
New York  Art at Site Dan Colen	Mural Design

Dan Colen

Mural Design
Details Guild Wall
The story of how of Dan Colen landed his first major show at the Gagosian Gallery sounds a bit like an art-world version of one of the Disney tales that sometimes show up in his painting.
One drunken night after an exhibition opening in 2006, Mr. Colen and Sam Orlofsky, a director of the high-powered Gagosian Gallery, found themselves sitting around the artist Cecily Brown’s Manhattan studio. The two men started talking.
“I’d seen his work here and there,” Mr. Orlofsky recalled. “And I remember friends told me about it, too. The market was on fire back then, with one gallery after another opening in Chelsea every week. Since I knew one day something was going to happen to this guy, I suggested he do a show with us.”
Mr. Colen laughed at the idea, Mr. Orlofsky remembers: “He said, “Yeah right, where am I going to show, in the bathrooms?’ Which is precisely what happened.
Mr. Orlofsky persuaded his boss Larry Gagosian to let him put six of Mr. Colen’s paintings — canvases that the artist had found in thrift shops and then embellished to make his own — in the bathrooms of his 24th Street space. Priced from $10,000 to $12,000 apiece, they sold immediately.
Since then, Mr. Orlofsky and Stefan Ratibor, a Gagosian director in London, have been following Mr. Colen’s work closely, visiting his Manhattan studio regularly and making a point of seeing new pieces wherever they have been shown.
But it is not simply his precipitous rise — from showing in the cramped bathrooms of the 24th Street gallery to filling the entire space in just four years in his show that opens Friday — that gives Mr. Colen’s career the quality of a fable.