To Tate Modern last night for a talk by Dan Graham. He mainly discussed his various pavilions and architectural structures, including recent projects like the Hayward Gallery refurbishment. He has a strangely nervy delivery and it is quite hard to imagine him among the hipsters of the New York art world. He sometimes gives a strange impression of insecurity for such a renowned artist, referring to "my friend Steve Reich", "my friend Sol Le Witt", "my former girlfriend Laurie Anderson", as if we'd only value his work by association with others. He complained about bad experiences with the Dia Foundation (who wouldn't let Thurston Moore perform in Graham's Two-Way Mirror Cylinder Inside Cube) and now with the Hayward who have said his installation 'doesn't work'. He had some amusingly critical things to say about Bill Viola.
Graham talked quite a lot about his influences, among whom he mentioned John Constable (especially with reference to the cloud paintings) and the Hudson River School. He has written an article for Tate magazine which explains his interest in the apocalytic landscapes of John Martin. In an interesting recent interview with Graham, Pietro Valle observed: "You seem to be more and more interested in landscapes. However, there's a difference between landscaping, i.e. the production of specialized areas in the suburban culture (often segregating buffer zones), and the landscape that you try to unveil with your pavilions." Graham's response: "In my Two-Way Mirror Hedge Labyrinth I combine the hedges that are typical of Baroque garden labyrinths with the glass that is typically used for corporate buildings. That specific pavilion was built for the home of a collector and the hedge is the extension of the fence of the existing garden. Hedges have become a means to mark the boundary between public and private in the single-family residential culture. I try to mix urban greenery elements with elements taken from the corporate areas but in a different way compared with the halls in skyscrapers where the greenery is imprisoned inside the building."