Images: Contemporary photographs courtesy Dan Graham Historic images, Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon

Rock my religion (2014)

In 1984, artist, curator, and writer Dan Graham created Rock my religion, a 55-minute video presenting the story of the Shakers against the history of American rock music. Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon was pleased to have screened this work at the North Family historic site.

Rock my religion draws a narrative line from Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers, through the development of rock and roll and finally to individual voices such as the iconic Patti Smith. Through its rough aesthetic and collage of text over imagery, Rock my religion presents a provocative thesis on the Shakers’ place in culture, both past and contemporary, as well as the relationship between rock and religion.

The video portrays a long tradition in American music, worship and dance of transgression, defiance and a search for transcendence, and is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Rock my religion was exhibited in the North Family Wash House in 2014.