Dan Graham’s Performance Café with Perforated Sides (2010).

Dan Graham: Performance Café with Perforated Sides opening reception

September 27, 2013 – 7pm to 11:45pm

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art is pleased to present the launch of Dan Graham’s pavilion Performance Café with Perforated Sides on Friday, September 27th at 7:00 pmPerformance Café with Perforated Sides, situated on Plug In ICA’s roof terrace, was created as a site-specific installation after Dan Graham visited Plug In ICA’s new facility while it was under construction in 2010.

Since the late 1970s, the foundation of Dan Graham’s work has focused upon public architectural installations called pavilions. Blurring the line between art and architecture, Graham’s pavilions comprise steel, mirror and glass structures that create diverse optical effects. Created as hybrids, they operate as quasi-functional spaces and art installations.

As with all of his pavilions, Performance Café with Perforated Sides interacts with the surrounding landscape, environment, and architectural features: the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s geometric roof line, the Georgian revival style architecture of the 1926 Hudson Bay building, the homogeneous 1980s style high-rise apartment buildings, as well as Plug In ICA’s modern architecture. These buildings create specific sightlines that correspond to the architectural design of the pavilion when viewed from multiple angles on the roof terrace. These correlated symmetries are intensified by the drastic extremes of Winnipeg’s natural environmental. The reflective surface of the two-way glass distorts sunlight, clouds, dusk, urban glow, moonlight and stars, which diversifies the viewer’s perception of the pavilion. Graham’s insertion of pavilions within the built environments offers a momentary diversion, an alternative experience to our typical interaction with urban architecture and corporate skyscrapers.

Conceptually, Performance Cafe is a stage. Both mirror and steel create optical effects, unique experiences for each viewer. The perforations in the steel panels create a moiré pattern, an effect of visual interference. These quasi-hallucinogenic deceptions are reminiscent of the optical effects of rock shows or psychedelic drug experiences associated with youth and rock culture. As a performance space, the work further reflects Graham’s standing pre-occupation with rock music, as documented in his video Rock My Religion (1982). 

Born in Urbana, Illinois in 1942, Dan 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 has exhibited and realized commissions all around the world, including participation at numerous international group exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale (1976, 2003, 2004 and 2005) and documenta V, VI, VII, IX and X (1972, 1977, 1982, 1992 and 1997). Major retrospectives of his oeuvre have been staged in Europe (2001–02) and in the U.S. (2009), showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Dan Graham lives and works in New York.