The 9 indie rock groups include the Feelies, their music is called post-punk, psych-pop, no wave, shoegaze — by the Whitney Museum anyway — they are giving concerts every Friday from now until the end of July as part of the exhibition “Dan Graham: Beyond.” So who is Dan Graham and what is he beyond?
That is what the exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art attempts to answer, a major retrospective of a short, gray-haired, 67-year-old artist who scratches his head a lot, wears a t-shirt that says “Rock and Roll Is Hard,” and for almost half a century has been at the forefront of cutting-edge art movements including conceptual art, minimalism, video art, performance art, architectural installations, and — here’s where the bands come in — collaborations with generations of musicians.
The entire fourth floor of the museum is given to his work, which from a distance looks like a collection of mirrors and windows and video monitors. Up close it’s not so easy to describe Graham’s work. Take
“Body Press,” from 1970 — you enter a small room and find on opposite walls, projections of two 16-millimeter films showing a naked man and a naked woman, um, filming one another for eight minutes.
There is a 38-minute video from 1983 of a concert at CBGB’s by a group called Minor Threat, which consists of a lot of white boys slam dancing. His 55-minute video, “Rock My Religion,” compared rock and roll to the Shaker religion, and include many startling and iconic images.
Graham said he had a hand in picking the groups that would be performing. The schedule:
Friday, June 26 at 7 p.m.: The Feelies — a special reunion concert, with this long-time landmark rock band doing an unusual acoustical set.
Friday, July 10 at 7 p.m.: Titus Andronicus/Real Estate
Friday, July 17 at 7 p.m.: Abe Vigoda/Grooms
Friday, July 24 at 7 p.m.: Woods/Yellowfever
Friday, July 31 at 7 p.m.: Vivian Girls/These Are Powers
These are all free with museum admission.
Here is Dan Graham at a performance art piece from 1977
Here is Dan Graham at a preview of the Whitney retrospective, June 24, 2009