Critics’ Picks

3 Musicians (Members of the Early Music Group “Renaissance Fare” Performing Matteo of Perugia’s ‘le Greygnour Bien’ at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, Late September 1977, 2006, three  painted aluminum light boxes with transmounted chromogenic transparencies, 143 x 62 x 7".

3 Musicians (Members of the Early Music Group “Renaissance Fare” Performing Matteo of Perugia’s ‘le Greygnour Bien’ at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, Late September 1977, 2006, three painted aluminum light boxes with transmounted chromogenic transparencies, 143 x 62 x 7".

Zurich

Rodney Graham

Hauser & Wirth | Zurich
Limmatstrasse 270
October 21–December 22, 2006

Appropriately entitled “Renaissance Man. Works 1400–1977,” Rodney Graham’s current exhibition beautifully mimics the seamless loop in which cultural production is trapped. At its center stands a fictional Fluxus-era artist, whom we witness performing for a casual, alternative-art-space audience in Lobbing Potatoes at a Gong (1969) (all works 2006), a black-and-white 16-mm film. The potatoes that actually hit the gong during the performance were subsequently distilled to create a limited-edition vodka; the still and some of the bottles are on view here as well. This centerpiece is accompanied by the fictional artist’s earlier works, such as Still 1959, a Duchampian painting of a still; Lead Gong R52/9B 1966, a minimal drawing featuring a black circle with a fifty-two-inch radius created with a 9B pencil; and the photograph Potatoes piled up to block my studio door 1968.

Other photographic works in the show are inspired by ‘70s-era album covers of musicians like Black Sabbath and the country singer Marty Robbins (one shows Graham’s profile in mise en abyme on a WANTED poster), and the triptych 3 Musicians (Members of the Early Music Group “Renaissance Fare” Performing Matteo of Perugia’s 'le Greygnour Bien’ at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, Late September 1977 features the artist as one of . . . you guessed it. As usual, Graham (who admits here that Dan Graham is his fashion icon) looks hilariously daft but is relentlessly sharp.