Beyond the Catalog

"Dan Graham has always pointed beyond in his work: beyond the art object, beyond the studio, beyond the medium, beyond the gallery, beyond the self. Beyond all these categories and into the realm of the social, the public, the democratic, the mass produced, the architectural, the anarchic, and the humorous." (From the website of the Whitney Museum, describing the catalog for its recently-opened Graham retrospective.)

beyond the art object

His glass pavilions have been placed indoors and outdoors in locations as remote as the Arctic Circle in Norway.

beyond the studio

The photographer and art historian Jeff Wall has written that while many other conceptual artists “abjured, apparently for good, any involvement with the world” outside of their methodologies, Mr. Graham’s aim has always been “to remain involved with the wider world as a subject and occasion for art, but to structure that involvement in the rigorously self-reflexive terms” opened up by conceptualism.

beyond the medium

Called “Homes for America,” it is a series of amateur-seeming snapshots of suburban architecture, published in 1966 in Arts magazine after Esquire turned it down. The blandly colored pictures tweak Minimalism — the houses look like Judd boxes — and send up the sorts of erudite essays then being published in magazines like Esquire that probed the standardizing soul of suburbia.

beyond the gallery

His fortunes have improved in recent years; he lives alone in a nicer apartment in NoLIta and is represented by a prominent gallery, Marian Goodman, though he says the work still doesn’t sell well, and he speaks disparagingly of “superstars,” including a few represented by his own gallery, like Pierre Huyghe and Tino Sehgal, making it clear that he is not counted among them.

beyond the self

Because so much of his work — from early pop-culture writing to performances with video cameras to his well known mirrored pavilions — is about what Mr. Simpson called “the way one experiences the space of the self,” it has also seemed more prescient as each new iteration of the Web alters the calculus of media, society and individuality.

Newspaper article quotes from "A Round Peg" by Randy Kennedy in the New York Times.