Two Cool “Disco” Dan Works to be Unveiled at the Wilson Building

On Tuesday, September 11 at noon in the ground floor atrium of the John A. Wilson Building, two works by the late local icon Cool “Disco” Dan will be unveiled. Dan’s family, friends, and longtime supporters and patrons have been invited and are expected to attend. The event will be open to the public.

Danny Hogg (rhymes with “vogue,” not “log”) was born on December 31, 1969 and passed away unexpectedly on July 26, 2017. On the one-year anniversary of his death, the Council announced its intention to display two of his works in the Wilson Building--our city hall, county seat, and statehouse.

The stylized letters of Dan’s name seeped into the District’s landscape during especially troubled times. It was during those times that Dan found his voice in a can of spray paint while accidentally captivating a generation.

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 Council recognizes that unauthorized graffiti was and is against District law. It should and will remain that way. However, three decades of hindsight demonstrate that Cool “Disco” Dan is the exception that proves the rule. His signature was woven into the District’s visual tapestry in a way that few iconic images have been, before or since.

The first Cool “Disco” Dan work to be displayed at the Wilson Building is the same one featured in the 2013 Corcoran exhibit on DC. With the dissolution of the Corcoran, its collections were donated to the National Gallery of Art and 22 other 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 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.

The John A. Wilson Building is located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Please enter via the rear door on D Street to facilitate access to the event.