Dan Flavin: Installation Shot
Current Exhibition
Dan Flavin
Currently on view
Dan Flavin: Installation Shot

In the early 1960s, Dan Flavin (American, b. New York City, 1933–1996) pioneered the use of light as an artistic medium with sculptures constructed from commercial fluorescent fixtures. Filling entire rooms with radiant, vivid color, Flavin’s light works challenged the traditional view of sculpture as a self-contained object. This exhibition features works from the Hirshhorn’s collection that represent two of Flavin’s most important series: the “barrier” pieces and the “monuments” to Vladimir Tatlin. Typically discrete, wall-bound sculptures, the Monuments acknowledge Flavin’s debt to the Russian Constructivist, who in the early twentieth century proclaimed that art could be made from prefabricated industrial materials. By contrast, the Hirshhorn’s “barrier” piece, untitled (to Helga and Carlo, with respect and affection), 1974, is a freestanding sculpture that changes with each installation, its length being determined by the specific architectural space in which it is installed. Extending more than ninety feet, this installation will be the largest iteration of the work to be presented at the Hirshhorn. Together, these simple and elegant works mark an important chapter in the ongoing redefinition of art.


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