Graham Chapter 4

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S.R. Is there a difference between popular culture and pop culture?

D.G. No.

S.R. For you it's the same?

D.G. I'm an Anti-Adornoite, I hate Adorno. I`m very close to Walter Benjamin, a little bit of Marcuse, particularly his idea of polymorphous perverse sexuality. I'm very anti-Adorno; Adorno hated America. There's many things I hate about America, but I think the popular culture of America is important for my work.

S.R. Yes I think one can say that there`s a difference between popular culture and pop culture in Europe. Maybe the difference is not so strongly conceivable in the United States. Maybe that is the very interesting point in your work, for us, to have retrospect view on these works from the early 60s, from now up and then on. What was it exactly, you said, Conceptual art is nothing?

D.G. No, I said, the academic idea of Conceptual art, that should be about art as philosophy or about some kind of academic idea of philosophical discourse, to me is nonsense. Conceptual art was an idea of making art that seemed to be stupid, but actually was very smart, that was about deadpan humor, maybe very anarchistic because it was trying to destroy the idea of value. Stanley Brouwn would be a good example. Or you can put in Fluxus as well as conceptual art. Just to show the boundaries of conceptual art are ridiculous. I also... - There is a new book out on conceptual art by Phaidon; the cover is On Kawara, and it has some of the very important people who people normally didn't think of as conceptual artists, like Lygia Clarke, Hélio Oiticica in Brazil in the 60s. You can put an enormous amount of art from different periods, including Gutai in the early 60s in Japan as conceptual art, not make a rigid statement around these people, Seth Siegelaub. And I particularly have a problem with Kosuth, because he was a student until like 1968. He used to follow me around, he pre-dated all his works, he followed me to see On Kawara's place. Basically there's a lot of people who try to make a mystique of conceptual art. I think a lot of conceptual art was about destroying the idea of value in the gallery system. But then, as Jeff Wall pointed out in Dan Graham's »Kammerspiel«, it was a utopian fantasy destroying value, destroying the gallery system. Of course Jeff has gone too much into the other direction, towards enhancing the gallery system and the museum system. But I think it's naive to think you can destroy galleries or museums. One area that my work went into was to take advantage of museums as social meeting spaces. Lobbies are important for romantic meeting places, book shops, gift shops, maybe the elevators. Certainly the idea of romantic meeting place is very important. I did a work called »Heart Pavillion« for the lobby of the Carnegie International, the Carnegie Art Institute in Pittsburgh.


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