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Dan Graham : biography

March 31, 1942 -

Daniel "Dan" Graham (born March 31, 1942) is an American artist, writer, and curator.

Graham grew up in New Jersey. In 1964 he began directing the John Daniels Gallery in New York, where he put on Sol LeWitt's first one-man show, and in groups shows, exhibited works of Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Robert Smithson. Like these artists, Graham considered himself a writer-artist, publishing essays and reviews on rock music, Eisenhower's paintings, and Dean Martin's television show. His earliest work dealt with the magazine page, predating but often associated with Conceptual art. His work often focuses on cultural phenomena, and incorporates photography, video, performance, glass and mirror structures. He lives and works in New York.

Childhood and early career

Dan Graham was born in Urbana, Illinois, the son of a chemist and an educational psychologist. When he was 3, Graham moved from Illinois to Winfield Park, New Jersey, and then to Westfield, New Jersey when he was fourteen. He had no formal education after high school and is self-educated. During his teens, reading included Margaret Mead, Claude Lévi-Strauss, the literary critic Leslie Fiedler and the French Nouveau Roman writers. He wanted to be a writer, loved rock music which he wrote about critically and because he couldn't afford art supplies his early art took the form of magazine "articles".


Graham's first solo show was held in 1969 at the John Daniels Gallery in New York. In 1991, an exhibition of his pavilions and photographs was held at the Lisson Gallery in London. Another important exhibition featuring Graham was "Public/Private", an exhibition that traveled to four different venues. The show, which included his pavilions, architectural photographs and models, performances, and video installations, had its opening in 1994 at the Moore College of Art and Design. In 2001, a retrospective was held covering his 35-year career. The museums holding the event included the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville in Paris, Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterlo, Holland, and Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, Finland. In 2009, another major retropspective was mounted in the U.S., showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Graham's work has also been exhibited at the Venice Biennale (1976, 2003, 2004 and 2005), documentas V, VI, VII, IX, IX and X (1972, 1977, 1982, 1992 and 1997), and at Skulptur Projekte Münster '87 and '97.

Graham is represented by Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Lisson Gallery, London, and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.

Selected solo exhibitions

  • 2011, Dan Graham: Exposition d'overture, Le Consortium, France
  • 2011, Dan Graham: Models and Videos, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
  • 2010, Les Rencontres d'Arles festival, France.
  • 2009, Dan Graham: Beyond, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (Retrospective)
  • 2009, Dan Graham: Beyond, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (Retrospective)
  • 2009, Dan Graham: Beyond, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (Retrospective)
  • 2001, Dan Graham Œuvres, 1965–2000, Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris
  • 2000, Dan Graham: Children's Day Care Center, CD-Rom, Cartoon, and Computer Screen Library Project, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
  • 1999, Dan Graham, Architekturmodell, Kunst-Werke Berlin, Berlin
  • 1997, Dan Graham, The Suburban City, Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz
  • 1995, Dan Graham, Video/Architecture/Performance, EA-Generali-Foundation, Vienna
  • 1994, Dan Graham: Public/Private, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia; List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; Toronto, LACE - Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles
  • 1991, Pavilion Sculptures & Photographs, Lisson Gallery, London
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