Rock My Religion

© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg

Dan Graham

Rock My Religion, 1982-84

Video, color, sound, 55 min 27 sec


Artwork text

“Rock My Religion” is a provocative thesis on the relation between religion and rock music in contemporary culture. Graham formulates a history that begins with the Shakers, an early religious community who practiced self-denial and ecstatic trance dances. With the ”“reeling and rocking” of religious revivals as his point of departure, Graham analyses the emergence of rock music as religion with the teenage consumer in the isolated suburban milieu of the 1950’s, locating rock’s sexual and ideological context in post-World War II America. The music and philosophies of Patti Smith, who made explicit the trope that ”“rock is religion,” are his focus. This complex collage of text, film footage and performance forms a compelling theoretical essay on the ideological codes and historical contexts that inform the cultural phenomenon of rock ‘n’ roll music. (SR-KA)