This week marks the 15th anniversary of September 11th, an event that fundamentally reshaped the United States as a country and New York as a city. Supreme chose to release their collab with Dash Snow this week, and in turn intentionally or not, made a point.
In many ways, Dash Snow personified the “fuck em” attitude that Supreme tries to portray as a brand. His family possessed immense wealth in part due to his Great-Grandmother being married to one of the Schlumberger brothers, who formed the oilfield service company Schlumberger. This wealth allowed them to acquire vast amounts of art now known as the Menil Collection. Snow was, needless to say, born with a golden spoon in his mouth.
But that didn’t matter to him. As a youth, his mother sent him out of state to a school specializing in treating Oppositional Defiant Disorder. To say that he received any sort of treatment there other than emotional and mental abuse would be lying. He resented his mother and authority for the rest of his life after that incident.
Upon his return to NYC, Snow rejected the privilege and security of his family vehemently. He instead chose to become an artist and lived by his own merits. He photographed, did mixed media and collages, went by the name of SACE when he did graffiti as a part of the IRAK crew and partook in copious amount of drugs. He lived on the fringes. And he passed away in 2009 as a result of his reckless yet liberated lifestyle.
His authenticity and involvement in art on the streets of NYC organically led Supreme to gravitate towards him. “We’ve long admired Dash’s work and what he stood for as an artist,” said Supreme’s Brand Director Angelo Baque.
The work in question for this collaboration is part of a larger collection called Untitled, 2006. It depicts the cover of a Daily News newspaper with the countenance of Saddam Hussein as seen through a cross-hair and draped with glitter-coated semen, captioned with “BUSH GIVES OK TO KILL HIM: FAIR GAME.” This piece was printed on shirts and a set of decks. Based on immediate sales alone, the shirts were not a popular item this past drop whatsoever.
The Dash Snow x Supreme tees are still currently sitting as this article is written. Reading online comments regarding the collab showed many people who couldn’t get past the fact that Supreme had made a shirt with glitter-covered semen plastered on it’s front. That is understandable, but given the subject matter and the week they chose to drop this collab, one can think that it’s commercial success was an afterthought.
Consider the cover, absent of any glitter and bodily fluids. The presentation is already fairly crude and barbaric. It’s dehumanizing a person, given that person was a monstrous dictator and genocidal maniac, but dehumanizing him nonetheless as if he is some sort of game to be hunted. Not an individual to be brought to justice for his crimes, but an animal.
Now add the glitter and bodily fluids. Are they off-putting, the materials used in creating the piece? Most likely, so now think of the lustful feverishness that America had in wanting to go to war after 9/11. To go to war against anyone or anything that was un-American, regardless if it was the right target. Someone needed to pay for what happened that day, and realistically for a while, it really didn’t matter to the people who that was. In hindsight, Saddam Hussein and Iraq had at best a very questionable connection to 9/11. The fact that those in charge capitalized on tragedy during a nationwide fugue state that left the country wanting something resembling more of a primitive sexual release rather than an issuance of justice should disgust people, just like Snow’s delivery of this message disgusts people.
A lot of valid interpretations can be attached to Snow’s piece in this collaboration. But considering Snow’s known disdain for authority, Surpeme’s specific disdain for George Bush, the timing, and the two creative entities’ shared home of NYC, this collab is a metaphorical critique of how America has acted for the past 15 years. It’s off-putting in its creation to underscore an off-putting culture of sensationalism and violence. It is a memoir of a dark time in America’s history, which politicians still like to exploit to their advantage. And it’s a memorial to the Towers, NYC and Snow on the week of the 15th anniversary of 9/11.