Dan Graham is one of the most important contemporary visual artists practicing today. His work over the past four decades is widely recognized for its lead in the advent of conceptualism as an art movement. His work was also instrumental in the development of Vancouver based photo-conceptualism, and his long involvement and friendship with a number of locally based artists has been of enormous influence.
While his work is featured in collections around the city, Graham has, surprisingly, never been afforded a solo show in Vancouver. This was the first opportunity to assemble a group of the artist’s works here, and featured an important early film work, Body Press (1970-72). Body Press shows two naked performers—one male, one female—each holding a 16 mm film camera and standing inside a mirrored cylindrical room. The performers rotate the cameras around their own bodies in a spiral motion, all the while pressing the cameras against their own flesh. The two films are shown projected on opposite walls of the gallery, and impart a hallucinatory transcription of a ‘dance’ between actor, camera, mirror and viewer. Other works in the exhibition were drawn from collections here in the city and featured an early artist proof of Homes for America, Graham’s powerful invocation of parallels between suburban tract housing estates and serialized, modernist design first published in Arts Magazine in 1966.