Rock My Religion

Dan Graham

Urbana, Illinois, USA, 1942 - New York, USA, 2022
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    55 min.
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    Colour and black/white
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Rock My Religion is somewhat removed from the prevalent moods of Dan Graham’s film and video output of the 1960s, which are characterised by an examination of the viewer’s vision and perception in relation to the work and the exhibition space. In this work, Graham moved away from the phenomenological themes explored in Postminimalism to explore a new facet as an essayist, which he developed principally from the late 1960s to the early 80s. Rock My Religion, constructed as a complex collage of texts, film footage and performance, grew from an article of the same name in which Graham brought together music, community and contemporary performance around an interest in intellectual punk rock from New York from the second half of the 1970s, here represented by Patti Smith. This web of content builds into a thesis in which the artist focuses on the close relationship that exists between religion and rock music. Graham’s analysis broke away from Pop Art’s superficial fascination with the rock star in order to examine it from the perspective of the construction and actualisation of the primitive ritual in contemporary culture, in conjunction with the secularisation of certain religious practices of the most radical side of American Protestantism. With this link between vernacular culture and popular culture, Rock My Religion would become a fundamental reference for artists like Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy and bands like Sonic Youth

Cristina Cámara Bello