Live on Artnet Auctions: a Dan Flavin fluorescent luminaire that affirms the sculptor’s motto: “Art is thought”
“I like art as a thought better than art as a work,” sculptor Dan Flavin once said. “I have always maintained that. It’s important to me not to get my hands dirty. It’s not because I’m instinctively lazy. It’s a statement: art is thought.
Flavin, a pioneer of minimalism, was known for his light sculptures that offer rigorous formal and conceptual investigations of space and light. Untitled (to Brad Gillaugh) (1970), a fluorescent sculpture representative of Flavin’s conceptual work, is now available in the Post-War and Contemporary Art section of Artnet Auctions.
The minimalist fixture, made up of red, cool white and pink fluorescent tubes, is emblematic of Flavin’s mature work. As was customary with the artist, Untitled (to Brad Gillaugh) pays tribute to a close friend, Brad Gillaugh, former director of operations of the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York who participated in several Flavin exhibitions.
A true minimalist, Flavin hesitated to attribute a transcendental meaning to his sculptures, relying above all on the semantics of their formal language. Untitled (to Brad Gillaugh) emits a far-reaching glow when mounted on the wall, creating a relationship between art and architecture. The luminescence takes on a life of its own, warping and distorting the composition of the space it inhabits, with a stunning and inimitable visual effect.
Flavin began experimenting with fluorescent lights in 1961, while working as a caretaker at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He embraced the temporary nature of the medium – which often shattered or exploded – and his dedication to simple forms and industrial materials positioned him alongside Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt.
Over the past decade, Flavin has found success in the secondary market, with a record sale of $3 million in 2014. His light installations consistently sell above their high estimates, signaling strong demand from collectors. Few opportunities to collect fluorescent works from the mature period of Flavin’s career presented themselves in 2021, making Untitled (to Brad Gillaugh) a rare and exquisite collecting opportunity.
“Post-War and Contemporary Art” is online until March 23 – don’t miss your chance to bid.
Do not hesitate to contact the specialist for this work, Johannes Vogtresponsible for post-war and contemporary art, for any questions or concerns: [email protected]
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