Recently I visited the Dan Flavin Installation at Richmond Hall in Houston. I was amazed by the work which is almost buzzing with life as it emanates its fluorescent glow on the white space around it. The installation stands as a brilliant example of the minimalist sculptor’s ability to combine utilitarian sensibilities with fine art, however, the installation is devoid of people much of the time. Even on a Saturday afternoon when I went (prime museum going hours) it was empty.
The installation was commissioned by Dominique De Menil in 1990, and it ended up being one of Flavin’s last works. He died two days after he completed his plans for the installation, and the rest of the work was carried out by his studio. The space, which built in 1930 as a grocery store, is lined with rainbow-fluorescent lights, and there is additional space the back which houses some of Flavin’s earlier “monument” light sculptures.
Along with Donald Judd, Flavin was one of the most important pioneers of minimalist sculpture and it is amazing that we have a permanent space dedicated to his work in Houston. Dominique de Menil did so much for this city’s art and culture. She is responsible for much of the great art we have in Houston, including the Cy Twombly Gallery and the Rothko Chapel. I hope that more people go to this installation because it is a true gem, and a pivotal example of 20th century sculpture, also it’s free!
All photos by me.
For more information on the installation follow this link: https://www.menil.org/campus/dan-flavin-installation