Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Dan Flavin
American, 1933–1996
Untitled (To Bob and Pat Rohm)
1969-1970
Red, yellow, and green fluorescent tubes
123 x 126 x 18 cm
Gift of Leo Castelli, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum
Accession number: B85.0938
 
 
During the 1960s, Flavin shared with other proponents of Minimalism an analytical approach to art that rejected all associative or evocative forms. In each piece of this period, the artist arranged fluorescent tubes in a different constellation, ranging from a single tube positioned diagonally on the wall to more complex compositions: corner pieces, ceiling pieces, light tunnels, and barriers of light. Fellow Minimalist Donald Judd has identified the basic components of a Flavin work: “The fluorescent tubes as the source of light, the light diffused throughout the surrounding space or cast on nearby surfaces, and the arrangement together or placement upon surfaces of fixtures and tubes” (Donald Judd, “Aspects of Flavin’s Work,” in Dan Flavin: fluorescent light, etc. [Ottawa, 1969], pp. 27–28). The light emanating from a work has three sources: the light produced inside the tubes themselves; the light reflected from the fixtures and the surfaces directly around them; and the ambient, or “environmental,” glow, which varies according to the strength and interaction of the colors. Untitled (To Bob and Pat Rohm) is a square corner installation consisting of red fluorescent tubes at the top and bottom of the square, a hidden yellow tube on the right side, and a hidden green tube on the left side. In reference to a similar work, Flavin remarked, “The corner installation was intended to be beautiful, to produce the color mix of a lovely illusion, to render the wall junction above the ‘fact’ of the floor triangle less visible than the usual lighting” (quoted in Dan Flavin: fluorescent light, etc., p. 238).

Publications:
Kamien-Kazhdan, Adina (ed.), Modernism in Dialogue: 20th-Century Painting and Sculpture in the Israel Museum, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2010

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: Ms. Joan Lessing, New York and Jerusalem