Magazine article Artforum International

Rodney Graham; 303 GALLERY

Magazine article Artforum International

Rodney Graham; 303 GALLERY

Article excerpt

"Don't Trust Anyone over 30," the title of one of Rodney Graham's catchy and drily humorous alt-rock songs, emblematizes the artist/ musician's uncanny talent for redeploying cultural cliches and received typologies--"'cause they're fucking old and they're fucking mean," he gently snarls on the track. Cunningly self-deprecating, meta-ironic yet seriously accomplished, Graham's work allegorizes the vexingly absurd contradictions of making "original" art and music in an epoch of radical uncertainty regarding aesthetic criteria, value systems, and ideological distinctions (e.g., between the authentic and the inauthentic, mastery and amateurism, authorship and the postauthorial). In Graham's oeuvre, all of this has long been effectively subsumed within an array of richly metaphoric, semiotic feints.

Graham keeps us guessing about the nature of his game, employing a wide range of media: Film, video, photography, sculpture, installation, and music (recorded and performed live) are all handled with rigor and elan. Ironically (or not), the artist's very mastery (OK, exquisite control) of these various and sundry forms has facilitated an adventurous, playful risk taking, wherein signs of "sincerity" and "insincerity" are deftly conflated. For his 2008 show at 303 Gallery, Graham presented The Gifted Amateur, Nov 10th, 1962, 2007: The artist, in pajamas, standing amid an improvised studio in the living room of a ranch-style house (newspapers scattered across the floor, paints in various bowls and other kitchen implements), spills yellow paint onto a canvas already featuring blue, green, and red pours--Morris Louis as suburban savant. To complement the photographic light box, Graham drolly included a number of paintings that might have been produced by that very hobbyist in that very space. Although nothing in Graham's hands is actually inexpert, we're invited to play along with the notion of the artist as talented dilettante.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This conceit is reasserted here, with a presentation of photographic light-box works from the past four years. These include the diptych Good Hand Bad Hand, 2010, in which Graham appears (twice, in subtly altered poses) in the guise of a poker player. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.