Permanent installation of nine Dan Flavin works and the special exhibition John Chamberlain, Squeezed and Tied: Foam and Paper Sculptures

May 16, 2007

New York, NY—The Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York, opens for the summer season on May 24 with the permanent installation of nine fluorescent light works by Dan Flavin and a special exhibition, “John Chamberlain, Squeezed and Tied: Foam and Paper Sculptures.” The Dan Flavin Art Institute features works created and installed by Flavin especially for the space and has been supported and maintained by Dia Art Foundation since 1983. It is located on Corwith Avenue, off Main Street. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, noon to 6pm, and admission is free. The summer 2007 season runs through October 14, 2007.

The Dan Flavin Art Institute occupies the former First Baptist Church in Bridgehampton, where Flavin worked for many years. 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 Flavin’s direction with the assistance of Dia’s James Schaeufele and architect Richard Gluckman, the building maintains traces of its former uses: a newel post in the entrance hall is painted red in remembrance of the building’s years as a firehouse, and the original church doors have been moved to the entrance of a small exhibition space on the second floor. This room contains memorabilia, including a neon cross, collected from and about the church. In 1983, Flavin permanently installed nine works in fluorescent light in the second-floor of the space, beginning in 1963 when he decided to work solely with standard fluorescent fixtures and tubes. Flavin conceived of the 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.

“John Chamberlain, Squeezed and Tied: Foam and Paper Sculptures” is the latest in a series of temporary exhibitions at the Dan Flavin Art Institute that has included works by Louise Bourgeois (1989) Andy Warhol (1987 and 1992), and Fred Sandback (2004-2006). It comprises a selection of Chamberlain’s urethane-foam and paper sculptures from Dia’s collection. The Stuffed Dog series reveals the varied possibilities for composition and form offered by the foam itself, as Chamberlain squeezed and tied the material with cord, creating donutlike shapes in increasingly complex forms. For his Penthouse series, the artist crushed paper bags and then coated them with polyester resin and watercolor. In different ways, the two series highlight the close relationship between form and material in his practice.
“John Chamberlain, Squeezed and Tied: Foam and Paper Sculptures” is made possible by Lexus.

Dan Flavin: A Retrospective
A major retrospective exhibition of Flavin’s work organized by Dia Art Foundation in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, currently on view at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art where it will remain through August 12, 2007.. The first comprehensive gathering of works by Flavin, the exhibition includes forty-four fluorescent light works from the early “icons” to more recent large-scale installations, as well as a significant presentation of the artist’s drawings. The retrospective opened at the National Gallery in October 2004 and is currently on at the final stop on its international tour. An exhibition catalogue and a complete catalogue of Flavin’s light works, both published on the occasion of the retrospective, include critical essays, a chronology, and color photographs, providing a valuable resource on Flavin’s work. Both Dan Flavin: A Retrospective and Dan Flavin: The Complete Lights, 1961–1996 are published by Dia Art Foundation, in association with Yale University Press.

Dan Flavin
Born in 1933 in New York City, where he studied art history at the New School for Social Research, Dan Flavin exhibited internationally from 1963 onward. He lived and worked for most of the last twenty years of his life in Bridgehampton and Wainscott, Long Island. Flavin died on November 29, 1996.

In addition to maintaining the Dan Flavin Art Institute, Dia’s support for Flavin and his work includes the commission of site-specific installations in Marfa, Texas; Grand Central Station, New York City; and Dia:Chelsea. Dia’s permanent collection includes more than forty additional works by the artist, including artworks from the “monuments” to V. Tatlin series, and an untitled work from 1970 currently on view at Dia:Beacon, Dia’s museum for its permanent collection located in Beacon, New York.

John Chamberlain
Born in 1927 in Rochester, Indiana, John Chamberlain grew up in Chicago. After serving in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago (1951–52) and Black Mountain College (1955–56). Chamberlain moved to New York in 1956 and the following year made Shortstop, his first sculpture incorporating automobile parts. In 1961, his work was included in the "Art of Assemblage" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and in 1962 he began showing at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. Chamberlain had his first retrospective in 1971, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, held a second retrospective in 1986. An exhibition devoted to his foam works was presented at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, in 2005. He currently lives and works on Shelter Island, New York.

Dia Art Foundation
Dia Art Foundation was founded in 1974. A nonprofit institution, Dia is internationally renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia presents public programs and its permanent collection of works from the 1960s through the present at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, in New York’s Hudson Valley. Beginning in the fall of 2007, Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists at The Hispanic Society of America while it seeks a permanent home for these initiatives in New York City. Additionally, the foundation maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and in Bridgehampton on Long Island.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, or 212 293 5518

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