Dan Flavin at Dia
The Dia Foundation‘s Chelsea headquarters may be gone, but the building remains to be used by the arts (most recently for the Outsiders Art Fair). Aside from continuing to be in the arts world, what else remains is Dan Flavin’s mark on the building- his permanent installation, “Untitled,” that lights up the building’s staircase. Installed in 1996, it was the artist’s last light sculpture before his death. Set within custom-made fixtures that fit directly into the corners of the stairwells, eight blue lamps are on the first landing, seven blue lamps are on the second landing, seven green lamps are on the third landing, and nine green lamps are on the fourth landing.
Fluorescent light tubes. That was essentially Dan Flavin’s schtick. I’ve never been really into the glowing installation pieces, but I get how they are as important to Minimalism as Rothko’s colorfields or Ryman’s white paintings. Fusing architectural environments with colored light, Flavin’s pieces were meant to create a relationship between the viewer, color, and form. Funny enough, Flavin started out studying to be a priest, before joining the Air Force, then finally becoming a guard and elevator operator at MoMA- where he met Sol LeWitt and Roberty Ryman- which influenced him to dream up his first light installation.
Who: Dan Flavin
What: Untitled, 1996
Where: The former Dia Foundation, 548 West 22nd Street