Dan Graham – Rock My Religion, 1983-84
Dan Graham began his creative career during the mid 1960’s as an early member of the visual arts movement known as Minimalism. While most of his peers (Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, Dan Flavin, etc.) explored materiality, and its relationships to meaning and action, Graham was quick to drift toward pure idea and concept. He is one of the most difficult and exiting thinkers of his generation. His ideas and creations are layered with metaphor and complex meaning. His avoidance of easily accessible aesthetics often puts him at odds with the world in which he rests. Rock My Religion is one of his most famous works. Made across 1983 and 84, it explores the connections between religious practice and music. Threading through Native American, Puritan, and Shaker cultures, and spanning Early Rock & Roll to Punk, it defies categorization – existing as both an anthropology of American culture, and an artwork. I first saw the film during the mid 90’s. Over the years I’ve found myself going back to it again and again. Every viewing gives more and more. It’s a difficult, dislocating experience which I think everyone should have. Set aside an hour and sink in.