untitled (in honour of Leo at the 30th anniversary of his gallery), 1987
red, pink, yellow, blue, and green fluorescent light
122 x 122 x 20.3 cm (approx.)
Gift of the artist, Wainscott, New York, 1994
National Gallery of Canada (no. 37580)
© Estate of Dan Flavin / SODRAC (2013)
Flavin's revolutionary decision in the 1960s to make art out of electric light, specifically fluorescent tubes in different colours and combinations, was in keeping with his contemporaries' interest in unconventional materials. From these mass-produced, off-the-shelf items, Flavin created artworks that were anything but standardized. This piece is dedicated to Leo Castelli, one of the most influential art dealers of the twentieth century. Castelli had foresight, and through his New York gallery discovered and promoted many unknown American artists who would become the icons of Pop, Minimal, and Conceptual art - among them Dan Flavin, Jasper Johns, Robert Morris, Andy Warhol, and Donald Judd.