One year ago, renowned local icon Cool “Disco” Dan (born Dan Hogg) passed away prematurely at age 46. To honor the anniversary of his passing, the Council today announced plans to exhibit two Cool “Disco” Dan works at the John A. Wilson Building, the District of Columbia’s city hall, county seat, and statehouse.
Anyone who lived in the District in the 1980s will recall how omnipresent Dan’s famous tag was DC-wide, but especially in one of his most famous haunts, along Metro’s Red Line. Cool “Disco” Dan and his tag were woven into the District’s visual tapestry in a way that few iconic images have been, before or since.
Dan’s legendary status was recognized early on by those in District, but his renown began to expand to federal Washington and beyond when he was featured in both a well-reviewed documentary film and in an exhibit on 1980s DC subcultures at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
The work featured in the 2013 Corcoran exhibit is the first of two that will be on display at the Wilson Building. With the dissolution of the Corcoran, its collections were donated to the National Gallery of Art. The works that the National Gallery did not choose to retain were distributed by the Corcoran Board of Trustees to 22 worthy institutions in the District, including the Supreme Court, the Phillips Collection, and the Council. The Cool “Disco” Dan work is being provided to the Council via a long-term loan from its direct recipient, American University.
The second Cool “Disco” Dan work that will be displayed at the Wilson Building was gifted to the Council by CSX after Council staff discovered it along the aforementioned Metro Red Line. After hearing of Cool “Disco” Dan’s untimely demise, the Council put out a call to the public via social media for tips regarding any still-existing tags that remained in place roughly three decades after they were first painted. While none of the public tips panned out, Council staff did find one remaining work on a railroad signal box just off Puerto Rico Ave., NE. The box belonged to CSX, but it was no longer in use, so it was donated to the Council.
Cool “Disco” Dan’s family, as well as Roger Gastman and Joseph Pattisall (friends and supporters of Cool “Disco” Dan who were instrumental in both the documentary and the Corcoran exhibit that featured him), have been notified, are supportive, and will be involved in the Council’s planned exhibit.
The works are scheduled to be installed in early September.
1.) Danny Hogg (Cool “Disco” Dan), Untitled, c. 1993. American University Museum, Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Gift of Roger Gastman in honor of the artist. Image courtesy of Greg Staley
2.) Council of the District of Columbia