Looking Glasses by ProQuest


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									                                  the last Word

                                  Looking Glasses
                                  Leo J. O’Donovan

                                             religion of revelation under-
                                             stands God as addressing us
                                             from beyond our experience,
                                             not apart from it. It helped me
                                  to remember that when visiting what may
                                  be the most engaging encounter between
                                  faith and culture in New York these days.
                                     That would be Dan Graham: Beyond, a retrospective of the              tic (perceiving a line connecting Puritanism to capitalism to the A-
                                  contemporary American artist’s work at the Whitney Museum of             bomb). You might quarrel with any of Graham’s interpretations in
                                  American Art (through October 11). The show includes sculpture,          the video, but you won’t forget them.
                                  prints, drawings, video, and film installations.                             The video essay’s emotional fervor is juxtaposed in the exhib-
                                     Born in Urbana, Illinois, in 1942, and raised in New Jersey, Gra-     it with Graham’s cool, geometric “pavilions,” which he began to
                                  ham in 1964 founded and briefly ran the John Daniels Gallery in          create in the early 1980s. At their best, these site-specific architec-
                                  New York City. It featured conceptual and Minimalist artists, such       tural installations—made of steel, plate glass, and two-way mir-
                                  as Sol Le Witt and Donald Judd. Graham’s own first conceptual            rors—are dazzling perceptual puzzles that reflect human interaction
                                  pieces were for magazines in the mid-1960s.They included cash-           and complexity. Feeling fat, or a bit lonely? Stand outside the top
                                  register receipts that played deadpan counterpoint to the glossy         of Graham’s Heart Pavilion (1991) and its folded curves will make
                                  commercial ads with which they were paired. With similar flat-           you as thin as you like (even a Giacometti-like model) and prompt
                                  toned objectivity, Graham sharply criticized the depersonaliza-          conversations with other visitors (of all ages, as I found out).
                                  tion and standardization of American life in “Homes for America”             Better still is Graham’s Triangular Solid with Circular Inserts (Vari-
                                  (1966–67), a project for Arts Magazine on the large-scale subur-         ation E) (1989/2007), placed before the protruding angular win-
                                  ban housing developments of the period.                                  dow on the Whitney’s fourth floor. Viewed at different angles, this
                                     By the early 1970s, Graham began exploring how the human              seven-foot-high piece morphs from a triangle to a hexagon to a
                                  body is perceived in space. One of his most engaging efforts is          parallelogram. With a circular opening on one s
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