Dan Graham: Beyond


at the MoCA Grand Avenue Through May 25th 2009

This show is way too fun to be good for you. It doesn't seem like an art show for people who like art. It is an art show for people. I would go so far as to say it is an art show for people who might think they don't like art at all, and end up loving this show and being glad they paid the price of admission. So if you are one of those people who thinks you do not like contemporary art, I would encourage you to consider going to see Dan Graham: Beyond, before the show closes, on May 25th, in about six weeks.

Dan Graham, I didn't originally realize, I had seen or heard of before. I didn't know if I liked his work or not. I don't recall seeing anything like it before. Graham works with video, including video from punk bands, and video installation. The MoCA website includes an archived link to "Dan Graham in conversation with Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth" which was recorded February 15th of this year for the opening of Graham’s show. From reading Graham’s biography, I have learned that he co-founded John Daniels gallery, which presented the first solo exhibition of Sol LeWitt.

But my favorite pieces are not described in the artist's biography, though I did realize I had seen his "Homes for America" polaroids, but I hadn't remembered the name when I saw this, his first, American retrospective in its entirety. I just love the sculptures, the curvy ones, you can walk in. They are probably intended to be something totally serious, but they are also very playful, intellectually, in a way that is quite smart. They are like plastic tinted some mirrorlike rooms you can walk into, but you can't figure out which way out is the real one, and which is merely a reflection. Then there are the interior cube like shapes that have linking compartments of combinations of one-way, clear, and two-way glass or mirror. One room thus bisected had a live streaming video camera linked to a mirror which could then show you reacting, live, to a video clip of you a few seconds earlier, taken on the other side of the room, and so on ad infinum. It was so fun. There was also a revolving door you could only go one direction in, in the middle of the exhibition space. And I think you should go, now, I am telling you, go see this show and you won't regret it. I promise. Then, if you become a dyed-in-the-wool Graham fan, you can go back to the museum, Thursday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. for MoCA Curatorial Assistant Christine Robinson leading a walkthrough discussing the film and video works in the show. And a farewell note to any budding collectors out there: Mark your Calendar. The Geffen Contemporary FRESH auction is an exciting opportunity for you to purchase works of art by 250 contemporary artists from around the world. (Tickets/Info 213-633-5381)

-Moira Cue for ©The Hollywood Sentinel