Indepth Arts News: |
"Icons, 1961 - 1963"
2003-05-22 until 2003-09-21
Dan Flavin Art Institute
USA United States of America
The Dan Flavin Art Institute, in Bridgehampton, New York, opens its
summer 2003 season on May 22 with the exhibition "icons, 1961-1963,"
which continues from last year, and the Institute's permanent
installation of nine fluorescent light works. Together, these
exhibitions offer an overview of Flavin's work from his early
experiments with electric light through his adoption of standard
fluorescent fixtures and tubes as the primary medium for his artwork.
This single-artist museum, built by and for Flavin, has since 1983 been
supported and maintained by Dia Art Foundation for public exhibition
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. In his series
"icons," Flavin combined painted boxes with fluorescent and incandescent
lights in a manner whose hallmark is simplicity and explicitness. These
works mark the burgeoning of Flavin's use of fluorescent light as a
medium and are among the works by him now considered a cornerstone of
the art of the 1960s.
Planned by Flavin for the second-floor gallery of the Bridgehampton
space, the permanent installation of nine of his works traces the
artist's practice from 1963-when he decided to work solely with standard
fluorescent fixtures and tubes-to 1981, when the presentation was
realized. In creating this exhibition, Flavin conceived of the
sculptures 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
contrasts-between colors, intensities of light, structure and
formlessness, the obvious and the mysterious, and the serious and the
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 building to use 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 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.
Dia Art Foundation was founded in 1974. A nonprofit institution, Dia
plays a vital role among visual arts organizations nationally and
internationally by initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving
art projects, and by serving as a primary locus for interdisciplinary
art and criticism. Dia presents exhibitions and public programming at
Dia Center for the Arts in New York City, and maintains long-term,
site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City,
and on Long Island. On May 18, 2003, Dia is opening Dia:Beacon, a new
museum in Beacon, New York, sixty miles north of New York City, to house
its renowned permanent collection.
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 exhibition
facility at 548 West 22nd Street, New York City. Dia's permanent
collection includes more than forty additional works by the artist,
including works from the "monuments" to V. Tatlin series, which will be
featured in a long-term installation at Dia:Beacon.
Beginning April 12, 2003, Vassar College's Frances Lehman Loeb Art
Center, in Poughkeepsie, New York, will exhibit rarely seen drawings
from Dia's Hudson River School collection. The exhibition features some
forty works, collected by Dan Flavin for Dia in the late 1970s and early
1980s, comprising pencil and crayon sketches and oil studies. The
exhibition will be on view through June 15, 2003. For more information,
please 845 437-5632 or visit www.fllac.vassar.edu.