Dan Herschlein

Dan Herschlein was born in 1989 in Bayville, New York. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and received his BFA from New York University. Working in sculpture, drawing, and performance, Herschlein uses images of the body and horror tropes to explore the human desire for comfort and emotional understanding.

Made of wood, plaster, and wax, Herschlein’s sculptures and reliefs depict headless, scarecrow-like figures and dismembered body parts. The effect is at once unsettling and surprisingly tender: figures lined up against a fence grasp each others’ hands as they seem to yearn toward the warm glow of suburban windows; a black figure reaches inside a window pane to gently grasp the draping curtain. The voyeur appears as a common character in Herschlein’s work, not as a threat but as “somebody who feels outside of the equation,” explains the artist. Alienation, aloneness, and fear also run through Herschlein’s work, with the intent of sparking deeper self-reflection. “If I can look at that at face value,” says the artist, “maybe it’s fine to be scared or sad or anxious; it’s not such a threat.”

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Conversation Starter

When is fear friendly?

Why might artists use existing Hollywood genres, like horror, slasher, or murder mystery, to create new narratives? What do these new narratives suggest?

Deep Focus

Horror, Contemporary Art, and Film: In Conversation with Dan Herschlein and Chad Laird

“New York Close Up” featured artist Dan Herschlein and professor Chad Laird discuss the intersection of contemporary art, film, and horror.

“The big mission of mine is reevaluating maleness and masculinity.”

Dan Herschlein