Thursday, November 22, 2012


Dan Graham, a major force on the international art scene since the 1970s, toured the Darwin Martin House earlier this week with several artist friends from New York and Toronto. As a gallerist, artist, photographer, filmmaker, and critic, Graham cites early inspiration from Sol Lewitt and UB’s Leslie Fiedler, and has written about many contemporary artists and architects including Mies van der Rohe, Robert Venturi, John Lautner (one of Wright’s original apprentices), and Switzerland’s Peter Zumthor.  Graham was particularly drawn to the vistas within the Martin House where it is possible -- now that the pier clusters have been restored -- to see through as many as six layers of scintillating art glass windows across several rooms and into the bright outdoors.
Left to right: Asad Raza, Jack Quinan, and Dan Graham (photo: Sandra Q. Firmin)

In recent years Graham has produced a series of steel-framed glass "pavilions,” that employ special mirrored and half-mirrored sheets of glass that are both reflective and transparent. The pavilions offer an ambiguous immersive experience that is popular with the public everywhere. His work can be found in parks and art museums all over Europe, North and South America, and Asia. (see below)

Graham, whose work lies somewhere between architecture and sculpture  enjoyed the Martin House but said Wright’s Johnson’s Wax Building in Racine, Wisconsin, is his personal favorite for its qualities of submersion under those lily-pad like dendriform disks. But in time maybe the Martin House will work its magic on his restless creative imagination.

Two Dan Graham pavilions from "I like this Art" blog

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