Dan Witz In Plain View
By: Wooster Collective
September 7, 2010
Today, as the auction houses and blue-chip galleries fight to keep the art market growing, to be labeled a “street artist” has become a bit of a mixed bag. As buyers look to find “what’s next”, street art has become a hot commodity. But with any bubble comes an association that can often connote short term hype rather than long term staying power.
Last month, Gingko Press released In Plain View, a superb monograph that catalogs over thirty years of artwork by the Brooklyn-based painter Dan Witz. For us, Dan Witz is a quintessential street artist in the truest sense of the word. Equally accomplished in both the galleries and on the city streets, Dan’s work represents everything that makes street art so infectious and, ultimately, so powerful. In Plain View is an exhaustive and rare study of an artist who has managed to remain committed to working both inside and outside the gallery system.
As an art student in the late 1970s, long before the days of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dan began what has now become a lifelong passion for placing his own work into the city landscape, always uncomissioned and without authorization. The power of his street pieces comes from the fact that 99% of the public will walk right by the work, never noticing it. But for the 1% who do notice, the reaction, surprise, and emotional impact is absolutely extraordinary.
Each year, Dan takes funds earned from the sale of his fine art and uses it to fund his street works. His most recent project, “What the #@%$?” (pictured above), consists of a series of eerie photorealistic painting depicting people lost in shadows, stuck behind air conditioning grates and water drains.
When the street art bubble does indeed finally burst, we’re confident that Character Approved artists like Dan Witz, and books like In Plain View, will indeed withstand the true test of time.