Dan Flavin (1933-1996)
Cool white fluorescent lights
Overall: 96 1/16 × 20 15/16 × 3 7/8 in. (244 × 53.2 × 9.8 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Howard and Jean Lipman
Rights and Reproductions Information
© artist or artist’s estate
Dan Flavin employed commercially sourced fluorescent light fixtures to create sculptures and installations, transforming the incandescence of light into the physical subject of his work. In adopting common materials devoid of rarified or precious components, Flavin’s sculptures suggested an ethos of the everyday and a critique of the work of art’s status as a luxury item. At the same time, these works are reliant upon the gallery or exhibiting institution in rather direct ways: they depend on electricity, which operates, in turn, only in conjunction with the surrounding elements—the tubes, the wiring, the wall, the room. In Untitled, six identical white fluorescent tubes are balanced against a seventh, double their length. The abstract, architectural tension of the arrangement produces an almost religious, elegiac rhythm, casting light into the surrounding space and onto people and other nearby works.