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"Special Exhibition and Permanent Installation Provide Overview of Two Decades of Dan Flavin s Work"
2001-05-24 until 2001-09-09
Dia Center for the Arts
New York, NY, USA

The Dan Flavin Art Institute, in Bridgehampton, New York, opens for its summer season on May 24, 2001, with a special exhibition, ICONS, 1961-1963, and the Institutes permanent installation, DAN FLAVIN: NINE WORKS. Together, the exhibitions offer an overview of Flavins work from his early experiments with electric light through his adoption of standard fluorescent fixtures and tubes as the primary medium for his artwork. The Dan Flavin Art Institute, which is open this year through September 9, is maintained by Dia Center for the Arts for public exhibition each summer.

On view in the first-floor gallery, icons, 1961-1963, includes works that represent early manifestations of the artist's enduring preoccupation with simple forms and electric light. For the works in this series, Flavin combined painted boxes with fluorescent and incandescent lights in a manner that emphasizes simplicity and explicitness. These early works mark the development of Flavin's use of fluorescent light as a medium and are among the works by the artist that are now considered a cornerstone of the art of the 1960s.

Planned by Flavin for the second-floor gallery of the Bridgehampton space, Nine Works traces the artist's practice from 1963-by which time he was working solely with standard fluorescent fixtures and tubes-to 1981. In creating Nine Works, Flavin conceived of the lights and the architecture as a single, continuous installation. By manipulating the formal, phenomenal, and referential characteristics of light, the installation asks viewers to consider a series of provocative contrasts-between colors, intensities of light, structure and formlessness, the obvious and the mysterious, and the serious and the humorous.

Dan Flavin

Born in 1933 in New York City, where he later studied art history at the New School for Social Research, Dan Flavin exhibited nationally from 1963 onward. He lived and worked for most of the last twenty years of his life in Bridgehampton and Wainscott, Long Island. Flavin died on November 29, 1996.

The Dan Flavin Art Institute

The Dan Flavin Art Institute is located in the former First Baptist Church of Bridgehampton. Originally built as a firehouse in 1908, the building operated as a church from 1924 to the mid-1970s. In 1979, Dia purchased the church as a gallery for Dan Flavin. The building was renovated under the direction of the artist with the assistance of Dia's James Schaeufele and architect Richard Gluckman. The renovation evokes the building's former uses: a newel post in the entrance hall is painted bright red in memory of the building's years as a firehouse, and the original church doors have been moved to the entrance of a small exhibition space on the second floor that contains memorabilia, including a neon cross, collected from and about the church.

The Dan Flavin Art Institute is located on Corwith Avenue, off Main Street. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12 noon to 6 pm; suggested contribution is $3.

Dia Center for the Arts

Dia Center for the Arts is a tax-exempt charitable organization. Established in 1974, the organization has become one of the largest in the United States dedicated to contemporary art and culture. In fulfilling this commitment, Dia sustains diverse programming in visual arts, poetry, education, and critical discourse and debate. Information about Dia and its projects is available at www.diacenter.org.

In addition to maintaining The Dan Flavin Art Institute, Dia's support for Flavin and his work includes the commission of site-specific installations in Marfa, Texas; Grand Central Station, New York City; and, most recently, in 1996, for the staircases of Dia's temporary exhibition facility at 548 West 22nd Street, New York City. Dia's permanent collection includes more than forty additional works by the artist, a selection of which will be featured in a long-term installation at Dia's new museum in Beacon, New York, scheduled to open in 2002.

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