Graham Chapter 1

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S.R. The terms of influence or terms like originality, faked originality of conceptual art. And especially in your case in relation to popular and pop culture. Can one say that you were starting with three terms: documentary, discoursive relations and a kind of sampling? Do you see it like that?

D.G. No, I think the sampling was in a later work, »Rock my Religion«. The most important term for me was information, and humor. For me Conceptual art is anarchistic humour, not new academicism like Kosuth or Art & Language. A good example would be Ed Ruscha, Stanley Brouwn, On Kawara. The idea was to make something that was listen and read - beginning with my magazine- pages, a »sign that was disposable«. And we destroyed the idea of value. It seemed to make everything very dumb but very intelligent at the same time, there was a kind of deadpan humor, which you could also find in Samuel Beckett, early Godard. That was middle-60s. And Sol Lewitt – who I showed when I had a gallery – said that his wood-lattice pieces were to be playgrounds for his cats.

S.R. Can one say that you have one very strong influence? Can you name it?

D.G. Two influences. Dan Flavin and Roy Lichtenstein. In both cases humor was very important. But also the idea of ... Lichtenstein wanted to destroy painting by taking printed matter cliches and by putting them to paintings. Instead painting became more valuable. So what I wanted to do is to take a printed matter, instead of putting it in the gallery, put it back in printed matter, in magazine form, where it would be disposable, have no value and could be instantaneously understood in terms of surrounding information and surrounding magazine pages. Also Flavin said he wanted to destroy value by taking lightbulbs from the hardware store, and then after the show is over, they go back to the hardware store. He also became very involved in his work having value. So on the way these artists who were Lichtenstein in dealing with printed matter and magazines was a very big influence, and Flavin was able to coalesce two things that were totally irreconcilable: Tatlin and Speer, and then later Barnett Newman, Caspar David Friedrich, Russian icons. So, the idea was to reduce very complicated things into something very simple and schematic.

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