Dash Snow was the sexiest guy on the downtown art scene. He was the bad boy who ran away from home and started living on the streets at around 13, the rebellious heir to the de Menil fortune, and the nephew of Uma Thurman. With wild long hair, a penchant for tattoos and graffiti, he cut quite a swath-almost a parody of an art star, except that he was actually talented. Women practically convulsed at the mere mention of his name. I remember his art opening at the now-defunct Rivington Arms gallery a few years ago. It was packed, and everyone was waiting for Dash, who-appropriately-dashed in and out, back to his friends who were gathering outside drinking beer, about to take off on skateboards.
When he died, at 27, this week of a heroin overdose, he had been married and divorced to one woman and fathered a daughter with another. He also left behind a burgeoning urban mythology that will likely only amp up his reputation for being the next Basquiat , another graffiti artist turned gallery gold.
But what will become of his crew? A few of Dash’s friends are hooked on heroin, too. They often hit art events and the dance floor at the Beatrice spun out on drugs, looking more lost than usual in a rarefied world where everyone knows their names. Will their truly fearless leader’s death scare them straight, or encourage them to spiral down deeper?
I’ve heard of a few cases where someone went to rehab to kick heroin, just like Dash did in March . That person gets clean and gets out. Then he tries heroin one last time. It really is the last time. I hope the talented group that hung close to Dash doesn’t follow his lead this time.