About the Exhibition
Graham has always kept the question open: Am I a musician trapped in an artist's mind or an artist trapped in a musician's body?"
—Kim Gordon, bassist, Sonic Youth
The Rodney Graham Band live, featuring the amazing Rotary Psycho-Opticon! is Rodney Graham’s first New York concert. Graham's work as an artist is heady, often humorous, and deeply varied. His references can be literary or historical, and long periods of research tend to precede actual production in his studio. Graham (b.1942, Vancouver, Canada) frequently creates dialectics between subject matter and media, incorporating the presentation apparatus into the conceptual framework for the art. His first film, Two Generators (1984), consists of a night shot of a rushing river that becomes illuminated by high-wattage studio lights powered by diesel generators. As the machinery begins working, the sound of the technology drowns out the sound of nature.
Some of his more recent works combine his early interest in sound with his current preoccupation with music, such as the "Western"-style mini-musical, How I Became a Ramblin' Man (1999). Arising out of Graham's interest in music videos and historical costume dramas, this 9-minute video manages to be both; a singing Marlboro man riding off into the sunset. The video is looped so that the cowboy, played by Graham himself, is doomed to ride and ramble until the end of time.
The concerts at the Abrons Arts Center will be a performance of a different kind, with the artist appearing as himself: part musician, part mad-scientist. The two New York performances feature the artist with his 6-man band, and a mind-blowing backdrop, the amazing Rotary Psycho-Opticon. Inspired by the set of a 1970s-era Belgian TV show that featured live performances by bands like Black Sabbath, the Psycho-Opticon looks something like a cross between a pedal-powered kaleidoscope and a Marcel Duchamp Rotorelief.
The occasion will coincide with the production of a CD version of Graham's upcoming 12" vinyl EP, which will be available for sale at the performance. The Rodney Graham Band live, featuring the amazing Rotary Psycho-Opticon! is being presented in collaboration with The Common Guild, Glasgow. There will be a performance by the Rodney Graham Band in Glasgow on April 25th.