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Champion Dan Efram, the Artist's Champion

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My friend Dan Efram is a talented photographer, producer, band manager, and activist. Dan is also something rare, something you don’t often hear of: an artist’s advocate. When he believes in someone or something, his commitment burns hot. And Dan’s longtime commitment to painter Steve Keene — proven by producing special shows, and now an art book— is nothing short of extraordinary.
Due to surprise factors beyond Dan’s control, the price tag for his support recently spiked from very manageable to a total nightmare.
I’m hoping that together we can end the nightmare!

Artist’s Advocate
Dan’s labor of love, The Steve Keene Art Book, was published earlier this year by his company Tractor-Beam in partnership with Hat & Beard Press. It’s a beautifully produced coffee table book that’s already received raves from Billboard, amNY, Pitchfork and elsewhere, and was named an outstanding art book of the season by Bookforum.

Dan and a friend, above, are hanging the BK show now.

Back in the summer of 2019, Dan told me about the book he envisioned that would showcase Keene’s unique artistic undertaking — painting fast and cheap with fun for everyone — and asked me to write an essay for it. He wanted a definitive text about all facets of the painter that would claim a rightful place for Keene in art and culture. I was excited to take on the challenge of writing about this artist whose work I’ve known and admired since the '90s, when we both lived in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Dan demanded high quality for every aspect of the book. When it came to printing, Dan selected the company used by superior art book publishers like Taschen, Norton and Chronicle Books. The actual printing press is in Bosnia. As a photographer and traveler, Dan couldn’t resist visiting the press in February to witness the book’s birth. Then he returned to NYC; finally, in June, the shipment of books made it to the East Coast.

As part of the math of publishing a book that would net Dan a modest profit, he agreed to a trans-Atlantic shipping price of $7,500. But a war had just begun next door to the printing press (about the same distance as L.A. to Seattle). That compounded the shipping and supply-chain issues we've heard so much about — leading to Dan being charged an additional $20,000 for book shipping. More than three times the price.

Color and Joy
Artists and artist advocates make sacrifices for what they believe in. Dan has persisted in promoting the book, producing a Steve Keene show at Public Access gallery in New York in April and a large retrospective at Palm Grove Social in L.A. in July; the retrospective is on view at ChaShaMa in Brooklyn from Sept. 13 - Oct. 14, with the opening party on Sept. 22. This month-long extravaganza will feature Keene frequently painting live in the gallery, several music performances, and an open invitation to you, me, and everyone to do what we want in the space: throw a dinner, give a yoga class, host a discussion, make music, put on a play, hold a workshop, more. (See details below.)

Dan is following through. But it all costs money.

Keene painted for one day at the July-Aug. show in L.A.

This project is too joyous to be drowned in debt. Joy, color, humor, and accessibility are qualities of Keene’s work that draw us to it: they are qualities that Dan was determined to commemorate with the book. Keene’s work has created a global community of fans — and creating the book reinforced that community, by inviting collectors to have their works included in it (to cite just one example).

Let’s embody the joy and belief embodied in Steve Keene’s work, and Dan’s book about it. Let’s blow away the cloud threatening to rain on Dan’s amazing tribute to creative genius. Together we can do it!


HOW TO HELP addition to donating...
1) Buy The Steve Keene Art Book from the publisher, which earns Dan more than through Amazon.
2) Spread the word about the show and the book!
Tag the book and Dan on social media:
IG @tractorbeampubart
Twitter @tractorbeampub

...right near the waterfront and Brooklyn Bridge park...
Dan is offering the space for free!
If you can afford it, however, think of your use as the gift you get for your donation:
$1,000 to rent the space for a private meal!
$500 to rent the space for a few hours to share your passion project!
$100 to rent the space to hold a yoga class or other workshop!


Karen Loew
New York, NY

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