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Tuesday, August 7, 2007


posted by on August 7 at 12:51 PM

I couldn’t help but notice that Dear Science this week takes on the topic of fluorescent lights and whether they “fucking suck.” (Postman would disapprove.)

In Los Angeles this weekend, I made it to see the Dan Flavin retrospective that’s been traveling around the country, and I was floored.

It’s one thing to see Flavins one by one (there’s a corner piece up at SAM now), and even the whole gallery of Flavins at Dia:Beacon didn’t tip me off to Flavin’s insane range as an artist using formal, architectural, sensual, psychological, and romantic-emotional means. Wow.

Here’s a piece that knocked me over.

monument 4 for those who have been killed in ambush (to P.K. who reminded me about death), 1966

RSS icon Comments


Pick yourself up, if you're still there emotionally. You have a brighter future elsewhere.

Posted by brandon | August 7, 2007 1:26 PM

That "knocked [you] over"?'s some neon in the corner.......

Did some naked emperor design that?

Posted by Gmoney | August 7, 2007 1:31 PM

If you ever make it down to Texas, head through Marfa on your way. There's a really amazing 6 building Flavin exhibit at the Chinati foundation...

Posted by CharlesV | August 7, 2007 2:05 PM


Posted by Michigan Matt | August 7, 2007 3:13 PM

This post title reminds me of my dear late Aunt Florence.

Posted by monkey | August 7, 2007 4:10 PM

LEDs rule.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 7, 2007 4:54 PM

i told you you'd love it!

the flavin exhibit is one of the best i've ever seen. any museum that has the space should be trying to get this.

too bad it will NEVER come to seattle.

Posted by terry miller | August 7, 2007 5:47 PM

When Dan Savage wrote this in Oct. 2002 he was saying that the death of children in the Iraq war was acceptable.

\"War may be bad for children and other living things, but there are times when peace is worse for children and other living things, and this is one of those times. Saying no to war in Iraq means saying yes to the continued oppression of the Iraqi people.\\\"

So why don\\\'t we apportion Dan Savage his fair share of the carnage in Iraq? Let\\\'s arbitrarily assign him responsibility for the death of, say, an eight year old Iraqi girl. That sounds about right doesn\\\'t it? That still leaves 649,999 dead Iraqis to be apportioned out to Bush and the neo-cons and other war supporters.

Posted by Bill | August 8, 2007 12:25 AM

It's funny the way Flavin is approached on Slog and in the comments. Flavin, as a general rule, is controversial because some view his art as a mere craft and his skill is unmatched in deceiving nubile dealers [and curators] into believing that anything is art if you just call it that. However, to appreciate his work you have to be able to take it in the way it was meant to be viewed, which is of course, in person.

All art is really masked when you photograph it and try to explain it through a reproduction (even digital). However, Flavin's work loses all context and flavor when you approach it outside of its natural habitat (or rather, in situ). On approach, the viewer drowns in light, with colors expressing emotion, volatility, surge, and even darkness. On critical interpretation, Flavin's work is anything but minimal (art pun, woo!).

I implore anyone who does not "get" Flavin to go visit a gallery with a Flavin installation. Many galleries do it different. Some "fucking suck" the way they are setup. But a properly installed Flavin (pretty much any work in the Guggenheim or in a dedicated room is well done) can give a new meaning to the concept of Minimalism and the institutional critique that Flavin brought forth.

Posted by Robert Klayman | August 8, 2007 1:56 PM

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