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Dan Flavin at David Zwirner is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

The Daily Pic: Fluorescent tubes as plain-Jane art supplies.

(Photo by John Armstrong)

These two light sculptures by Dan Flavin, made between 1966 and 1971 as part of his “European Couples” series, are now on display in the wonderful and huge new building that the dealer David Zwirner just opened in New York. These pieces that use very subtly different colors of white fluorescent tubes are, I think, Flavin at his best: They bring to mind his very first such experiments, when he imagined that the act of buying and installing normal, everyday fluorescents from a hardware store, and calling them art supplies, was half the point of his art; flashy light effects were a side effect. When Flavin works in color, however, the light effects, however lovely and winning, can seem the central point – he risks becoming just another light-and-color guy. (Photo by John Armstrong)

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