Beautiful Chaos of Mosh Pits – Dan Witz

various paintings from Mosh Pits series © Dan Witz

Dan Witz’s overcrowded pieces filled with people in the midst of ecstatic motion at first glance look like an incredible feat of the photographic ‘decisive moment’, with the compositions perfectly coming together. Then one realises that these are in fact paintings.

Inspired by Renaissance painters such as Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, and the academic painters of the 19th century, with hints to Baroque, Witz’s incredibly composed mosh pits are both hectic and calm, with each individual standing out from the crowd. Based on photographs taken at hardcore shows, Witz digitally stitches images together to form the compositions that he eventually paints.  He does so to an incredible effect and you could easily get lost in one of his hyperrealistic paintings. Originally playing the music that he now paints, his love of music has come together with his passion for painting in an exciting way.

Vision of Disorder 2013 © Dan Witz

“I’m an academic realist painter, but I’m living in the 21st century, so I’m not going to be painting Roman soldiers invading, or some gothic baroque composition…The highest aspiration of an academic realist painter are these big group figure paintings, and I’m using the hardcore scene as my subject.”

Anna (Sorrowing) 2016 © Dan Witz
Laura, 2008 © Dan Witz

If you’re around New York, you can see his work on show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery till April 30th!


Dan Witz © Bryan Derballa

Dan Witz was born in 1957 in Chicago, Illinois and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Rhode Island School of Design from 1975-77 and came to New York in 1978 to attend Cooper Union, receiving a BFA in 1980. In 1982, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1992 and 2000, he received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and in 1998 he received a fellowship from the Public Art Fund. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Witz has been featured in many publications including The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, ARTINFO and the cover of Juxtapoz Magazine. In 2010, Gingko Press released In Plain View, a monograph documenting 30 years of Witz’s career of works created in the studio and on the street.