Top: Installation by Dan Flavin (untitled, 1970), a work that was conceived as an edition of three, but only two were produced. The other one is installed in Donald Judd Foundation, 101 Spring Street Space, in New York City, the first building Judd owned, where he worked and lived with his family. It was created specifically to illuminate the family’s bedroom, at a time that the two artists and friends were working so closely together that, for a while, they had become Flavin & Judd.
The gorgeous windows behind Flavin’s installation are part of Robert Irwin’s design for Dia: Beacon, Beacon Project (1999–2003) that conceived the museum as a work of art itself.
”Flavin’s work generates ambient light that reaches into the viewer’s space. The form, resembling a skyscraper, refers to a never-realized, but nonetheless influential, monument to an organization supporting Communist revolution designed by the Russian constructivist artist Vladimir Tatlin in 1920. It was to be a spiraling steel framework thirteen hundred feet tall in which rotating glass rooms would be suspended. Though utterly impractical engineering-wise, it remains an influential symbol of the artist’s efforts to combine art and technology. Flavin’s “monument,” despite its low-tech, small-scale nature, pays homage to Tatlin’s futuristic, utopian ideals.” [source: MOCA]
Dan Flavin’s large-scale work in colored fluorescent light for six buildings at the Chinati Foundation was initiated in the early 1980s, although the final plans were not completed until 1996. The work was inaugurated at the museum’s annual Open House in October 2000.
Two parallel tilted corridors are constructed at the connecting arms of each U-shaped building. These corridors contain light barriers that are placed either in the center or at the end of each corridor. The barriers consist of eight-foot-long fluorescent light fixtures, occupying the entire height and width of the corridor. The tubes are installed with space between them, allowing a view through the barrier. Each fixture holds two differently colored bulbs shining in opposite directions. The barriers in the six buildings utilize four colors: pink, green, yellow, and blue. The first two buildings use pink and green, the next two yellow and blue, and the last two buildings bring all four colors together. Two windows at the end of each long arm of the U allow daylight to enter the building and permit a view into the vast landscape – [source: The Chinati Foundation]
It is impossible not to be drawn into Flavin’s sculptures, like a fly attracted to light.
The next high rise project in Manhattan? Josiah McElheny Bruno Taut’s Monument to Socialist Spirituality (After Mies van der Rohe), 2009
Glass and wood
This work reproduces Mies van der Rohe’s 1922 model for a theoretical, glass-clad skyscraper. But in a switch, McElheny replaces the clear windows with multi-coloured glass blocks. […] McElheny’s sculpture imagines a different history for twentieth-century architecture, one that embraced lively, transcendent spaces rather than the monochromatic monoliths of capitalism that evolved from Mies’ radical thinking.
Dan Flavin Untitled (To Donna) II, 1971
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