Skip to main content

The Art World Works From Home: Artist Dan Colen Is Admiring His David Hammons Work and Harvesting Crops for Food Banks on His Farm

The art world may be on lockdown, but it certainly does not stop. During this unprecedented time, we're checking in with art-world professionals, collectors, and artists to get a glimpse into how they are working from home.

We recently caught up with artist Dan Colen, who had a head start on New Yorkers fleeing the city: in 2011, he bought Sky High Farm in Columbia County as an escape from urban life.

Read on to learn about how farm life is keeping Colen busy, and how his farm is mobilizing to supply food banks.

HELP paintings at Dan Colen Studio, Sky High Farms. Photo by Eric Piasecki, courtesy Gagosian.

HELP paintings at Dan Colen Studio, Sky High Farms. Photo by Eric Piasecki, courtesy Gagosian.

Where is your new "office"?

Same office as before—the studio/garden/pasture.

What are you working on right now?

My farm, Sky High Farm, which I founded in 2012, raises pasture-based livestock and grows organic fruits and vegetables, 100 percent for donation. We work with food pantries in the Hudson Valley as well as in New York City.

Gagosian also recently featured one of my works from the exhibition "HELP" in their Artist Spotlight.

Sky High Farm, Columbia County, New York. Photo courtesy of Gagosian.

Sky High Farm, Columbia County, New York. Photo courtesy of Gagosian.

How has your work changed now that you are doing it from home?

Although I'm lucky enough to be living across from my studio and remain busy and immersed in my creative practice, my focus has been on the farm's work. The emergence of COVID-19 has exposed the true magnitude of socioeconomic inequity inherent in our social systems and the fragility and limitations of the very programs designed to address it.

In this context, Sky High remains committed to playing an adaptable and instrumental role in alleviating need. These are age old problems—even before the current global health crisis, food insecurity throughout New York State was deepening. COVID brings a needed spotlight onto these inequities.

I'm seeing so many people rise up to help. Through these new partnerships and creative thinking, there is an opportunity to change things. Tragically, the staggering rates of unemployment and acute stresses on emergency feeding systems will take a massive toll on so many people lives in the immediate future.

What are you reading, both online and off?

Between the studio, the farm and living with a girlfriend for the first time I'm keeping pretty busy. I'm stuck in the middle of Roberto Bolano's 2666… I'm making better progress with some food [writers] like Michael Pollan and Sandor Katz.

Have you visited any good virtual exhibitions recently?

I keep meaning to watch all these videos galleries are offering, but haven't gotten around to it yet. There was some stuff that looked good on Sadie Coles site, and I noticed a Douglas Gordon video on Gagosian (from the "Broadcast" exhibition) I'd never seen before. I also wanted to see the Wooster group stuff.

Sky High Farm, Columbia County, New York. Photo courtesy of Gagosian.

Sky High Farm, Columbia County, New York. Photo courtesy of Gagosian.

Have you taken up any new hobbies?

Same hobbies as always. I'm getting to garden more than I have in the past, although I believe the work is too backbreaking to call it a hobby.

What is the first place you want to travel to once this is over?

I'm staying focused on being here right now—travel hasn't been on my mind.

If you are feeling stuck while self-isolating, what's your best method for getting un-stuck?

As I mentioned, I'm with my girlfriend; she is very good at getting me unstuck. When she is busy, a run in the mountains always helps.

Dan Colen, <em>Mother</em> (2018–20). Photo courtesy of Gagosian.

Dan Colen, Mother (2018–20). Photo courtesy of Gagosian.

What was the last TV show, movie, or YouTube video you watched?

The Executioner by Luis Garcia Berlanga.

If you could have one famous work of art with you, what would it be?

I live with some of my friends' works I love very much. And I have a small David Hammons which would satisfy me all on its own.

Favorite recipe to cook at home?

A special sourdough pancake my girlfriend cooks called Donnycakes, inspired by Maggie's buckwheat pancakes at Krooked Cafe in Tannersville. Neither recipe has ever been published.

What are you most looking forward to doing once social distancing has been lifted?

Hugging my family and friends.

Follow artnet News on Facebook:Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Popular posts from this blog

History of Art Timeline

The historical past of art is usually told as a chronology of masterpieces created during each civilization. It can thus be framed as a narrative of high culture, epitomized by the Wonders of the World. On any other hand, vernacular art expressions can even be integrated into art historic narratives, called folk arts or craft. The more intently that an art historian engages with these latter sorts of low culture, the much more likely it is that they will determine their work as analyzing visual culture or cloth culture, or as contributing to fields associated with art historical past, akin to anthropology or archaeology. In the latter cases, art gadgets may be called archeological artifacts. Surviving art from this era comprises small carvings in stone or bone and cave painting. The first traces of human-made gadgets appeared in southern Africa, the Western Mediterranean, Central and Eastern Europe Adriatic Sea, Siberia Baikal Lake, India, and Australia. These first traces are generall

Bob Gibson was not just best pitcher of modern era, but during time of strife, mastered the art of fear

For a lot of successful athletes, winning in competition is about winning their own internal battles between anger and fear. One can be generated by the other. One can also be erased by the other. Those who effectively use anger, even if they must fabricate it, can overcome their fear and simultaneously instill it within the opponent. This statement covers a lot of competitors and a lot of time, so I don't issue it carelessly. But in all my years, I've never seen an athlete channel fear in the opposition more effectively than Bob Gibson. He was the young Mike Tyson of baseball, way before Iron Mike. And unlike him, Gibson didn't flame out in his prime. He was not only the best in the business during a 5-year span in the mid-'60s (1964-68), he won his second Cy Young in 1970 at age 31 and threw a no-hitter the next year against the best hitting lineup – and it turned out, best team – in baseball that season, the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates. I saw an old fan on

How to Show Art Work when the Gallery Says No Thanks

There are places in the town where you live where you can show your artwork when the big gallery you solicited said, "No, thanks." Other artists may need to find venues other than galleries to show their artworks as well. Visual artists living in art-rich communities where there is a lot of local competition will need to get creative about display opportunities. Or on the other hand, in towns without large art venues, it is important for artists to find smaller and less obvious places to show your art. How to Show Art Work When The Gallery Says No Thanks 1. Show Where You Go The most successful approach to finding a place in your town to display your artwork is to solicit a place that you go to frequently. Make a list of all the places you go to each day, each week, and each month. Make a special trip, or the next time you visit note if the establishment currently exhibits any artwork, if it is local, and if it is for sale. Also note if they have available wall s