Dan Graham embrace Punk

As admired for his writing as for his work in art, photography and architecture, Dan Graham was one of the first contemporary artists to embrace Punk, Postpunk and No Wave, becoming a figurehead for those movements, and an early supporter of (and friend to) Glenn Branca and Sonic Youth among many others.

In “Punk as Propaganda” (1979) and “Artist as Producer” (written between 1978 and 1988; published in 1999), Graham turns his critique toward the contradictions of popular punk acts from Devo to Alternative TV. Beginning with Devo’s assertion that rock music is “Propaganda for Corporate Capitalist Life,” Graham indicts punk for promoting empty rhetoric about the media for the sake of media attention. But maybe punks are formalists; collapsing structure, content, style, and distribution into one continuous activity.