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Sam Durant

Proposal for Monument at Altamont Raceway, Tracy, California

1999

Sam Durant’s work entangles disparate times, places, people, and objects to explore the end of 1960s utopian thinking as promulgated by the hippie movement and rock and roll. While he has made drawings, sculptures, and a video that address the fateful 1969 concert by the Rolling Stones at Altamont Raceway in Northern California, Proposal for Monument at Altamont Raceway, Tracy, California is the culmination of those efforts; it proposes a toxic landscape of poured foam into which speaker-tower scaffolds are placed, memorializing the dissolution of peace-and-love ideals into an atmosphere of violence, drugs, racism, and sexism. The layered and looped soundtrack of the Rolling Stones song “Brown Sugar” emanating from beneath the sculpture creates a distressing and disorienting mood: psychedelia gone awry.

Sam Durant (b. 1961, Seattle; lives and works in Los Angeles)
Proposal for Monument at Altamont Raceway, Tracy, California, 1999
Polyurethane foam, acrylic, wood, steel, speakers, CD player, and miscellaneous hardware
69 x 74 x 100 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Partial and promised gift of Gaby and Wilhelm Shürmann

I am always looking for materials, objects, and phenomena that have both specific meaning and connotative or associative meaning. The Rolling Stones are an example of this. I am using them to represent a variety of things: the Altamont concert, the appropriation of African-American culture, scatological impulses, drugs, and death. —Sam Durant

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