Graham Chapter 8

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Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

S.R.: So it's mainly again about this question where you explained the pop art. The question was: What was the strongest influence on your work, which were the sources?

D.G. My work began as anti-Mies van der Rohe but it became a combination of Mies and his enemy, Venturi. I like to make hybrids, combining irreconcilable positions. Also, at a certain point, I stopped reading art historians and artists and started reading architectural historians who were mainly architects themselves, Venturi, Aldo Rossi. But the key source is probably Dan Flavin.

S.R. And Roy Lichtenstein?

D.G. Both for humor. Lichtenstein for deadpan humour. Also I liked fact that Lichtenstein was dealing with schemas, schematic things.

S.R. It came also in your work as this kind of schema, stretching the diagrams that you...

D.G. But I also like magazine cliches.

S.R. And the last thing I wanted to ask you was in the very last question. How do you see contemporary Conceptual art?

D.G. I don't see any. I don't like the other people like Fareed Armaly who are doing neo-conceptual art. I think it's very gimmicky, academic.

S.R. But he is dealing with some very critical aspects, some political aspects.

D.G. He's a spoiled rich kid. He is not Palestinian or Lebanese, he grew up in Washington. His father is a specialist in the I. He is a spoiled Arab prince, like Jeff Wall is a spoiled Jewish prince. Jeff Wall began as a Trotzkyite, now he's very conservative. You see, my background is very strange. My parents were very educated, and I grew up in a city for poor people after the war. So I identified with upper- and lower-class people.

S.R. Do you mean the background, the biographical background is still a real issue?

D.G. In America, everybody thinks they are middle-class, but it's not true. Probably in Germany everybody thinks they are middle-class also, except for the Turks. Okay.

« Dan Graham