" 'Art Needs to Go Public': Dan Graham Pavilions and the Evolution of a Critical Idea and Practice, 1964-2022" offers a historical interpretation of Dan Graham's glass pavilions, tracing their development from his earlier works to their crystallization in the late 1970s and subsequent widespread proliferation. Drawing on oral histories, archival materials, and bibliographic resources, this study reconstructs Graham's artistic trajectory and explores his interdisciplinary engagement with art, architecture, media, and popular and exhibition cultures.
The dissertation argues that these pavilions are an ingenious expansion of Graham’s previous explorations in print, performance, and video, providing a new ways to challenge and reframe dominant modes of exchange rooted in market-driven profit motives. It also examines how Graham uses two-way mirror-glass as a material that allows an articulation of the languages of glass architecture, theater, and video, inviting playful and critical reflections on transparency, alienation, and spectacle. Furthermore, the dissertation discusses the critical agency inherent in Graham's 100+ pavilions within the contemporary global city context. Beyond enriching our understanding of Graham's artistic practice, the study situates these pavilions within broader cultural transformations and contributes to ongoing debates on the agency of art and architecture in the realm of spectacle and global capitalism.
Ultimately, this work positions these pavilions as catalysts for public dialogue and engagement, actively shaping the dynamic formation and transformation of publicness itself.