Dan Graham

  • passages June 07, 2018

    Glenn Branca (1948–2018)

    MY CLOSEST MALE FRIENDS have always been musicians, and often Libras. Examples include Steve Reich and Glenn Branca. When I first met Glenn, we discovered we had a shared love for the Kinks and the novels of Philip K. Dick. I had the most fun with Glenn in quickly improvised collaborations. My first collaboration with him was when I asked him to score the 1981 Cologne exhibition “Westkunst.” The show's curator, Kasper König, asked me to do a short documentary segment that was for German TV. Kasper wanted me to do a section about the '70s that would feature my Homes for America photos. The film's

  • Seth Siegelaub

    SETH SIEGELAUB was a conceptually brilliant art dealer and producer. I remember him as an intellectual catalyst who took his stable of slightly experimental but somewhat conventional young artists into media prominence. I initially met Seth when he invited me to share my ideas about “information” to his artists and a group of fellow participant “thinkers.” I admit I was (and remain) suspicious about the “idea” of “Conceptual art” as a movement based on pseudoserious oversimplifications supposedly merging philosophy and art. (My earlier magazine pieces related mostly to the anarchistic, subversive

  • Dan Graham

    IN MY EARLIEST conceptually oriented work, I used the magazine page as my medium. An exemplary, and perhaps the most absolute and complex, proto- conceptual magazine page that I made is Schema (March 1966). It is completely self-referential. Instead of relating to the white cube of the gallery, the work involves the “materiality” of its own self-referring information. As magazine information is disposable, the pages defeated the monetary aura of gallery art and also had the virtue of positioning art in a popular and publicly accessible domain. Placing work in the context of the magazine page

  • THEIR FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS OF THE YEAR

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2007. Contributions by ten of those artists have been reproduced below. For the rest, see the December issue of Artforum.

    CATHERINE SULLIVAN

    Daniel Mendel-Black, “The Paintings Are Alive” (Mandarin Gallery, Los Angeles) The eleven paintings in this show seemed to create a place for the palette of Play-Doh to oppress acrylic and oil into some perilous graphic universe of cynical optimism. Looking is like falling in these paintings; your eyes are

  • CORPORATE ARCADIAS

    Here, Lycoris, are cool fountains, here soft fields,

    Here woodland, here with you I’d be Time’s casualty. . . .

    As the green alder pushes upward in new spring.

    Let us arise: for singers heavy is the shade,

    Heavy the shade of juniper; and shade harms fruit.

    Go, little she-goats, Hesper comes, go home replete.

    —Vergil, “Eclogue X,” translated by Guy Lee

    [The arcades and botanical winter gardens are] residues of a dream world . . . [in which] the collective consciousness sinks into ever deeper sleep. . . . The city is now a landscape, now a room.

    —Walter Benjamin

    THE MODERN CITY LIVES in a tension

  • NOT POST-MODERNISM: HISTORY AS AGAINST HISTORICISM, EUROPEAN ARCHETYPAL VERNACULAR IN RELATION TO AMERICAN COMMERCIAL VERNACULAR AND THE CITY AS OPPOSED TO THE INDIVIDUAL BUILDING

    IN BOTH THE MODERN AMERICAN and the modern European city historical roots are replaced by an abstract neutral grid that situates architectural forms within the urban fabric.

    According to the European critic Manfredo Tafuri, it was the grid structure that rationalized and controlled the pattern of economic investment and building(s)—which were forced toward rational, self-contained, fragmentary forms within the overall grid.

    In the American city, absolute liberty is granted to the single architectural fragment, but this fragment is situated in a context that it does not condition formally: the

  • Signs

    Artistic representation is proclaimed (and enforced) as “pure” (profound) in the same process in which “propaganda”—previously an open political rhetoric—is . . . transformed into fetishized, irrationalist representation centered . . . around commodities and fantasy figures. . . . The transformation of [the] older political discourse of bourgeois democracy of Europe into [the] new advertising discourse of Fascist/Democratic Europe/America . . . is centered in . . . Hollywood and Madison Avenue. . . . “Propaganda” [is placed] . . . on a more subjectified footing through . . . cinematic techniques

  • Art in Relation to Architecture / Architecture in Relation to Art

    WHILE AMERICAN POP ART of the early 1960s referred to the surrounding media world for a framework, Minimal art of the mid- through late 1960s would seem to refer to the gallery’s interior cube as the ultimate contextual frame of reference for the work. This reference was only compositional; in place of an internal compositional reading, the art’s formal structure would appear in relation to the gallery’s interior architectural structure. That the work was equated to the architectural container tended to literalize it. Both the architectural container and the work it contained were meant to be

  • Oldenburg’s Monuments

    WITH THE BOOM IN PROPOSALS for public monuments recently, architectural critics continue to view the monument as something suspect. “Spurious and over-simplified; at best hollow; at worst a mockery,” writes Ada Louise Huxtable. And the only major monument project undertaken lately by an architect of reputation, Philip Johnson’s proposed monument to immigration on abandoned Ellis Island, could easily be read as camp. It is planned to consist of a cylindrical building resembling an open, hollowed-out, truncated “column” three hundred feet in diameter and one hundred and thirty feet high with the