Downtown Sticker: IRAK IS RICH KIDS (aka Dash Snow’s Crew)

Found on Lois Stavsky’s Flickrstream, this downtown sticker is priceless.

Irak is, of course, affiliated with recently deceased Dash Snow. And today I discover that Stephen Marche published a brilliantly lucid debunking of the Dash Snow myth in last Saturday’s Toronto Star, titled “Messy life, clichéed death for prince of hipsters.”

Here are two of the most interesting paragraphs:

They usually begin by identifying him as an artist but nobody really wants to talk about his art. He was a fascinating muse for other artists, but his lifestyle is the most interesting thing about him, involving as it did a devotion to every kind of hedonism possible when a person has no respect for taboos and pots and pots of money. The style of his death also represents the end of a particular moment in the life of American art, the logical conclusion of its utter submission to the glut of money fuelled by fraudulent financial instruments pumping through the world’s major cities before the crash. He was an icon of a nasty and empty art so cynical it amounted nearly to nihilism.


Even the hedonism seems joyless and cynical, fuelled by only the shallowest spirit of rebellion. Because, of course, Dash Snow was rich. He was a de Menil, a member of a family regularly featured on Forbes’ list of the richest families in America and one of the greatest art collecting dynasties in history. How else could he have maintained his lifestyle if he were not a scion of one of America’s great fortunes? How could he have called himself an artist if he were not a descendant of some of the greatest patrons the world has ever known? His brother has dated Mary-Kate Olsen. His grandmother commissioned the Rothko chapel in Houston. His family sponsored Walter de Maria’s “Lightning Field” in New Mexico. Art was simply the most comprehensible and easiest – the laziest – way to rebel against a family that had supported and nourished art’s grand rebellion over the previous 50 years.

Classic drama…read the whole thing here.

Part of the reason the Dash Snow mythmaking irks me is that while everyone IMHO should have the choice to live their life the way they choose, we shouldn’t celebrate someone who died of heroin as some type of hero. He was tragic and flawed and–to use an art historical cliché–problematic.

Snow represents that very negative stereotype of rich lazy hipsters who were celebrated, lampooned and vilified by the media’s for years. In my experience, the vast majority of real “hipsters” tend to be working class kids who are overeducated and underemployed and, needless to say, no one seems to give a shit when they die of drugs.

4 responses to “Downtown Sticker: IRAK IS RICH KIDS (aka Dash Snow’s Crew)”

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  2. […] “A clichéed death for the prince of hipsters.” (Hrag Vartanian.) […]

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