Dan Flavin. untitled (to the "innovator" of Wheeling Peachblow). 1968 47

Fluorescent light and metal fixtures, 8' 1/2" x 8' 1/4" x 5 3/4" (245 x 244.3 x 14.5 cm). Helena Rubinstein Fund. © 2021 Estate of Dan Flavin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Narrator: Some artists make paintings or drawings. Others make sculptures using materials like clay, wood or stone. But artist Dan Flavin worked with something totally different—light!

He especially liked lights like these called fluorescent tubes. The tubes aren’t anything special—they’re the kind of lights used in offices and stores. When he originally made the works, he got the tubes at a hardware store. He bought different sizes and put them together to make different shapes. They came in different colors, too, and he found that by combining colors, he could paint the space with light.

How do you paint with light? Well, notice how the light isn’t just in the tube, it shines out onto the wall as well, so the room you’re standing in is part of the artwork, too. Can you see the light reflected on the floor and the ceiling? Does it even shine on you? Hold your hands up to see.

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