Dan Flavin installation at the Menil Collection, Wednesday, July 25, 2012

(photography is not allowed in the Menil – pretend this is impeccable)

I notice a rainbow on the ceiling, this faint reflected glow on the plaster – cast by Dan Flavin’s fluorescent tube installation – looks like colors in the air, and like colors made of air.

Present at Richmond Hall are a pink that is more salmon, yellow, green and blue; these shine from vertically mounted light fixtures with a double row of horizontal ultra-violet bulbs between. The installation on the wall is quite bright, it might be that the presence of the ultra-violet light softens the harshness.

The fixtures are mounted on their sides and oppose each other: if the upper row faces your eyes then the lower one faces away, so that an upper color on the left points at a matching lower color facing right. The arrangements on both long walls begin with pink and close with green.

Up close the colored light nearly completes a square in each section – light bleeds through the ballasts. While the upper row facing away has a diffuse structural architecture, in the lower one facing me the colored light becomes an object. In a nice way, Flavin’s room makes structure insubstantial and gives substance to color.

Outdoors, the green lights that are encased in plexi and that partially circle the building at the parapet were not lit.

Dan Flavin installation at Richmond Hall, the Menil Collection: http://www.menil.org/visit/flavin.php


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