Born in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada in 1949
Rodney Graham pulls at the threads of cultural and intellectual history through photography, film, music, performance and painting. He presents cyclical narratives that pop with puns and references to literature and philosophy, from Lewis Carroll to Sigmund Freud to Kurt Cobain, with a sense of humor that betrays Graham’s footing in the post-punk scene of late 1970s Vancouver.
The Avid Reader 1949 shows the artist in the role of rapt slacker absorbed in something we cannot see. The lightbox recreates the storefront of a closed (or maybe re-opening) Woolworths in 1949, its windows covered with newspapers dating from 1945. Graham, playing the part of the avid reader, stands in front of the shop, transfixed by the headlines in the newspapers. To create the image, Graham first had to fabricate a street and then perform within it, making a situation familiar to us through a history peculiarly his own.