New York, NY-The Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York, opens for the summer 2008 season on May 22 with the permanent installation of nine fluorescent light works by Dan Flavin and the special exhibition, Imi Knoebel: Knife Cuts Part 1. The Dan Flavin Art Institute features works created and installed by Flavin especially for the space and has been supported and maintained by Dia Art Foundation since 1983. It is located on Corwith Avenue, off Main Street. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12pm to 6pm, and admission is free. The summer 2008 season runs through October 12, 2008.
The Dan Flavin Art Institute occupies the former First Baptist Church in Bridgehampton, where Flavin worked for many years. Originally built as a firehouse in 1908, the building operated as a church from 1924 to the mid-1970s. In 1979, Dia purchased the building to use as a gallery for Flavin. Renovated under his direction with the assistance of Dia’s James Schaeufele and architect Richard Gluckman, the building retains traces of its former uses: a newel post in the entrance hall is painted red in remembrance of the building’s years as a firehouse, and the original church doors have been moved to the entrance of a small exhibition space on the second floor. This room contains memorabilia, including a neon cross, collected from and about the church. In 1983, Flavin permanently installed nine works in fluorescent light in the second floor of the space. The earliest work, red out of a corner (to Annina), dates from 1963, when he decided to work solely with standard fluorescent fixtures and tubes. Flavin conceived of the sculptures and the architecture as a single, unified installation. By manipulating the formal, phenomenal, and referential characteristics of light, the installation asks viewers to consider a series of contrasts—between colors, intensities of light, structure and formlessness, the obvious and the mysterious, and the serious and the humorous.
Imi Knoebel: Knife Cuts Part 1 is the latest in a series of temporary exhibitions at the Dan Flavin Art Institute that has included works by Louise Bourgeois (1989), Andy Warhol (1987 and 1992), Fred Sandback (2004–2006), and John Chamberlain (2007). First shown in 1977 at Heiner Friedrich Galerie in Cologne, Imi Knoebel’s Untitled (1977) consists of collages made from paper cutouts vibrantly colored in oils and acrylics. The exhibition will present a selection of some 35 of the 80 parts that comprise the work.
Dan Flavin was born in 1933 in New York City, where he later studied art history at the New School for Social Research (1956) and Columbia University (1957–59). His first solo show was at the Judson Gallery, New York, in 1961. Flavin made his first work with electric light that same year, and he began using commercial fluorescent bulbs in 1963. Major exhibitions of Flavin's work include those at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1967), the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1969), the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (1989), and the retrospective organized by Dia in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in 2004–2005. In 1983, Dia opened the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York, a permanent exhibition designed by the artist in a converted firehouse and open to the public each summer. In 1992 Flavin created a monumental installation for the reopening of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. He died in 1996, leaving designs for a light installation for Milan's Chiesa Rossa that was realized posthumously with Dia's support.
Imi Knoebel was born in Dessau, Germany, in 1940. He was a student of Joseph Beuys at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1964 to 1971. His first exhibition, "IMI + IMI," with Imi Giese, a fellow student of Beuys, was held in Copenhagen, in 1968. Knoebel has since exhibited his works in Documentas 5 (1972), 6 (1977), 7 (1982), and 8 (1987), and at Sonsbeek '71. In 1987 Knoebel oversaw an installation of his own work, as well as that of Beuys and Blinky Palermo, for the inaugural exhibitions at Dia's galleries on West Twenty-second Street in New York City. A retrospective of his work traveled, in 1996–97, throughout Europe, including such venues as Haus der Kunst, Munich; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, Centre Julio González, Valencia. He will have a major retrospective in summer 2009 at the Hamburger Bahnhof and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. His monumental cycle, 24 Colors–for Blinky (1977) is currently on view at Dia:Beacon. He lives and works in Düsseldorf.
Dia Art Foundation
A nonprofit institution founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is internationally renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia presents public programs and its permanent collection of works from the 1960s through the present at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries. In the fall of 2007 Dia initiated a partnership with The Hispanic Society of America, where Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists within the Society’s galleries while seeking a permanent home for these initiatives in New York City. Additionally, Dia Art Foundation maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and in Bridgehampton on Long Island. For additional public information, visit www.diaart.org.
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