09/28/2015 01:25 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Immersion in Light


Installation view, "Dan Flavin: Corners, Barriers, and Corridors," at David Zwirner in New York: two works from Flavin's 1971 series, untitled (to Barnett Newman)

"DAN FLAVIN: CORNERS, BARRIERS, AND CORRIDORS," now on view in Chelsea at David Zwirner, is a glorious immersion in light and a wonder to behold for all generations of art-goers. For the youngest of the tribe, the show is proving to be a selfie-generator. In the course of my three visits to this exhibition over the past week, I've had the pleasure of witnessing scores of young people happily striking poses in the fluorescent-tinted space created by this superb installation of this master's works from the late 1960s and '70s.


Installation view: Dan Flavin's untitled (to Dorothy and Roy Lichtenstein on not seeing anyone in the room), 1968

The exhibition's curatorial point of departure was a 1973 Dan Flavin show at the Saint Louis Art Museum, which examined how the artist established and redefined space through the "light constructions" in three formats that were at the core of his practice. The artist's "corner," "barrier," and "corridor" works explicitly engage the surrounding architecture, and bathe walls and entry ways with colored light. One of the highlights of the Zwirner show is a "corridor" in yellow and pink fluorescent light, dating from 1972-'75, called untitled (to Barry, Mike, Chuck and Leonard), which divides an architectural passageway into two inaccessible, obstructed fields of color and light, playing on the viewers' perception of distinctly different colors at opposite ends of the same space.


Installation view, "Dan Flavin: Corners, Barriers, and Corridors," at David Zwirner

A pioneer of minimalism who left an indelible mark in contemporary art history, Dan Flavin's work is just as profoundly alive today to a new generation who clearly feel the powerful pull of a visionary, digital consciousness. The show is a must-see for all.


Installation view, Dan Flavin's untitled (to Barry, Mike, Chuck and Leonard), 1972-1975

"Dan Flavin: Corners, Barriers, and Corridors" is on view at David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street in New York, through October 24, 2015.