On and Off Art

Dan Flavin: A Retrospective
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Dan Flavin
the diagonal of personal ecstasy
pencil on paper mounted on cardboard
3 x 5 inches

The tragic implications, such as they are, occur to Flavin early on in a meditation concerning wounded Apollinaire, he imagines light poles manifesting an “on and off art” (Flavin at this time is a great abstract painter somewhere between Motherwell and Francis).




The first step (always on paper, documented upstairs) is a 45 Constructivist homage to Brancusi in a single yellow (“gold”) neon tube with its bare fixture.




The transitional works literally take off from the canvas plane with light bulbs and neon tubes to make a concrete expression, a fused abstract image.




Once embarked on, the way seems easy, “that supreme quality of beauty, the clear radiance of the esthetic image, is apprehended luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony...”

xDan Flavin
untitled (to the "innovator" of Wheeling Peachblow)
Daylight, yellow, and pink fluorescent light
8 feet square