New York, NY—The Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York, opens for its summer season with the special exhibition, Drawing American Light: Dan Flavin and the Hudson River School and the permanent installation of nine works by Dan Flavin. The Dan Flavin Art Institute houses a selection of Flavin’s work and special exhibitions. It has been supported and maintained by Dia Art Foundation since 1983, and is located on Corwith Avenue, off Main Street, in Bridgehampton, Long Island. Summer hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12-6pm, and run through October 17, 2010. Admission is free.
Drawing American Light: Dan Flavin and the Hudson River School is the latest in a series of temporary exhibitions at The Dan Flavin Art Institute. The presentation includes Dan Flavin's drawings of the Hudson River and the Long Island shoreline from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a group of late nineteenth century drawings by Hudson River School artists, selected by Flavin for Dia's Collection. Among those whose drawings on view are Henry Farrer, John Frederick Kensett, Aaron Draper Shattuck, and Robert Havell, Jr. The exhibition is shown in the first floor gallery and is organized by Kristin Poor, assistant curator, Dia Art Foundation. It follows previous exhibitions at the site of works by Imi Knoebel (2008–2010), John Chamberlain (2007), Fred Sandback (2004–2006), and others.
The Dan Flavin Art Institute occupies the former First Baptist Church in Bridgehampton. Originally built as a firehouse in 1908, the building operated as a church from 1924 to the mid-1970s. In 1979, Dia purchased the building to use as a gallery for Flavin. Renovated under his direction with the assistance of Dia’s director of operations James Schaeufele and architect Richard Gluckman, the building retains traces of its former uses: a newel post in the entrance hall is painted red in remembrance of its years as a firehouse, and the original church doors have been moved to the entrance of a small exhibition space on the second floor which also contains church memorabilia, including a neon cross.
In 1983, Flavin permanently installed nine works in fluorescent light on the second floor and in the stairwell. The pieces span nearly twenty years: the earliest work, red out of a corner (to Annina), dates from 1963 when he decided to work solely with standard fluorescent fixtures and tubes, and the latest piece, untitled (to Robert, Joe and Michael), was made between 1975 and 1981. Flavin conceived of these sculptures and the architecture as a single, unified installation. By manipulating the formal, phenomenal, and referential characteristics of light, the installation asks viewers to consider a series of contrasts—between colors, intensities of light, structure and formlessness, the obvious and the mysterious, and the serious and the humorous.
Support for The Dan Flavin Art Institute is provided in part by Heiner Friedrich and David Zwirner.
Dan Flavin was born in 1933 in New York City, where he later studied art history at the New School for Social Research (1956) and Columbia University (1957–59). His first solo show was at the Judson Gallery, New York, in 1961. Flavin made his first work with electric light that same year, and he began using commercial fluorescent bulbs in 1963. Major exhibitions of Flavin's work include those at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1967), the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1969), the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (1989), and Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, a national and international touring exhibition organized by Dia in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C (2004–2007). In 1983, Dia opened The Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York, a permanent exhibition designed by the artist in a converted firehouse. In 1992 Flavin created a monumental installation for the reopening of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. He died in 1996, leaving designs for a light installation for Milan's Chiesa Rossa that was realized posthumously with Dia's support. Flavin's last completed work, untitled (1996) occupies the stairwell at 548 West 22nd Street in New York City in a building formerly used by Dia as an exhibition space.
DIA ART FOUNDATION
A nonprofit institution founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is committed to realizing and preserving the vision of artists. Dia displays selections from its collection of works from the 1960s through today at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, in Beacon, New York. Dia initiated a partnership with The Hispanic Society of America, where Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists within the Society’s galleries, while developing a permanent home in West Chelsea for these initiatives. Additionally, Dia maintains long-term, site-specific projects. These include Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks) (1988), and Dan Flavin’s untitled (1996), in Manhattan; The Dan Flavin Art Institute, in Bridgehampton, New York; De Maria’s Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977), in Kassel, Germany; and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970), and De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977), in the western United States. For additional information, visit www.diaart.org.
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