Curator, Leah Dickerman: The fluorescent tubes that Dan Flavin was using were a ready-made unit that could then be combined in different ways, and he presented the tubes as they are, with their casing and cords exposed.
The light that he uses spreads to create a spatial experience with zones of intense color, and eliminates a clean distinction between painting and sculpture. Now it becomes a kind of category in between.
It's funny, because in the time they were made, of course, this was the most easily available fluorescent tubing, the kind of lighting that would have been seen in every supermarket and in every office building. It flickers and cracks in a way that we recognize as belonging to an earlier period. So there’s a kind of memorializing of an earlier technology that’s present when we see these objects now.