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Vintage Dan Graham : Projects for Publications, 1966 - 2009

image from Vintage Dan Graham : Projects for Publications, 1966 - 2009

specific object / david platzker


Vintage Dan Graham : Projects for Publications, 1966 - 2009

June 15 – September 18, 2009

Specific Object / David Platzker is pleased to announce the opening Vintage Dan Graham : Projects for Publications, 1966 - 2009. The exhibition will be on view at Specific Object from June 15 - September 18, 2009.

This show presents both artwork specifically created by Dan Graham for periodicals and other publications and Graham's own writings on sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, art & architecture first seen in print between 1966 and 2009.

... Through the actual experience of running a gallery, I learned that if a work of art wasn't written about and reproduced in a magazine it would have difficulty attaining the status of 'art.' It seemed that in order to be defined as having value, that is as 'art', a work had only to be exhibited in a gallery and then to be written about and reproduced as a photograph in an art magazine. Then this record of the no longer extant installation, along with more accretions of information after the fact, became the basis for its fame, and to a large extent, its economic value.

From one perspective, the art object can be analyzed as inseparably connected to the institution of the gallery, or museum; but from another perspective it can be seen as having a certain independence, as it belongs also to the general cultural framework which the magazine is part of. Magazines specialize in a way which replicates other social economic divisions. Any magazine, no matter how generalized, caters to a certain market or specific audience in a particular field. All art magazines are directed to people who are involved in the art world professionally in one way or another. Furthermore, the art magazine itself is supported by advertisements which with one or two exceptions, come from art galleries who are presenting exhibitions. It follows that in some way the advertisers have to be taken care of in that their shows have to be reviewed and made a matter of record in the magazine. Thus these shows and works are guaranteed some kind of value and can be sold on the market as 'art'. The fact that sales do take place yields enough money for the gallery to purchase more advertisements in art magazines and to sustain the art system in general.


If 'Minimal' art took its meaning from the notion that the gallery is an objective support, by comparison 'Pop' art took its meaning from surrounding media-world of images. 'Pop' wished to undermine the notions of quality in fine art by using mass-produced-cultural content. Since it fed its pictures through the magazines back into popular culture, 'Pop' art also made an ironic comment about popular culture to itself. What 'Pop' pointed out was that the information media, such as magazines, could be used dialectically with the art system. That is, a work could function in terms of both the art language and the popular language of the media at the same time, commenting upon and placing in perspective the assumptions of each. I designed works for magazine pages which would both be self-defined and would relate through their context, to the surrounding information on the other printed pages ...

-- excerpt from "My Works for Magazine Pages 'A History of Conceptual Art,'" by Dan Graham, 1985

Beyond utilizing magazines as a medium for creation of original artwork, over the last forty-three years Graham's projects and essays have informed, manipulated, and expended the dialogue on subjects including sexuality, pop music, politics, cultural theory, cultural iconography, as well as other artists such as Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, Robert Smithson, among others. These projects appeared both in well know arts magazines such as Artforum, Arts Magazine, Art in America, and Real Life as well as popular non-arts publications including Harper's Bazaar, and fringe publications such as New York Review of Sex.

In conjunction with this exhibition Specific Object is pleased to announce the republishing of Graham's first artists' book, End Moments, which was originally self-published by the artist in 1969. The new printing faithfully reproduces the original publication and has been issued by Specific Object in an edition of 100 signed and numbered copies. Copies of Graham's most recent book, Rock / Music Writings, published by Primary Information, is also now avalable through Specific Object's website. Additionally Specific Object in collaboration with Primary Information have reprinted The New York Review of Sex & Politics of September 1, 1969 -- containing Graham's project Detumescence -- which is available free of charge to exhibition visitors.

Specific Object's presentation of Vintage Dan Graham : Projects for Publications, 1966 - 2009 coincides with, and expands upon aspects of, the exhibition Dan Graham : Beyond which will be on view at Whitney Museum of American Art from June 25 through October 11, 2009.

Additionally, this exhibition augments critical aspects of Lynda Benglis / Robert Morris : 1973 - 1974, also curated by Specific Object / David Platzker, and now on view at Susan Inglett Gallery through July 31, 2009 and The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984, curated by Douglas Eklund, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through August 2, 2009, to which Dan Graham contributed a podcast dialogue with Eklund on the subject of Jack Goldstein's audio works.

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