untitled (to Janie Lee) one, 1971

Photo: Billy Jim, New York

Blue, pink, yellow and green flourescent light
244 cm wide across a corner

Dan Flavin's arrangements of light fixtures in a gallery derive their significance from the context and function of the gallery, as well as from the socially determined architectural use of electric lighting. Electric light is related to a specific time in history. Flavin has observed that when the existing system of electric lighting ceases to exist, his art will no longer function. Made of standardized, replaceable units that in Flavin's words, "can be bought in any hardware store", his arrangements of fluorescent tubes within the interior (or adjacent exterior) architectural frame of the exhibition space function only in situ, and upon completion of the exhibition cease to function artistically. Unlike the self-defined or conceptual art work, such as Duchamp's readymades, they take on meaning by being placed in relation to other works of art or specific architectural features in an exhibition space. Being part of the architecture/lighting of the gallery, they tend to underscore both the function of the space and other art's dependence upon the standard illumination of the gallery setting. – Dan Graham

*1933 in New York, USA I † 1996 in New York, USA