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Greens Crossing Greens: to Piet Mondrian Who Lacked Green

“Calling them situations or proposals rather than sculptures, Flavin created environments using tubes of fluorescent lighting of varying length. They posed questions about space, barriers and access, and also reflected his life-long fascination with light, space and colour – primary concerns among many new media artists. The first work of its kind, Greens Crossing Greens debuted in the exhibition ‘Kunst Licht Kunst’ (a play on words: Art/Artificial Light Art) in the Netherlands and was later installed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Two crossing fence-like structures of green fluorescent tubes turned the asymmetrical walls and floor of the gallery a vivid kelly green, while the bulbs themselves appeared strangely white. Bisecting a space already disorienting through a lack of parallel walls, the piece locked viewers out, rather than inviting them in. Flavin repeated this structure and approach in subsequent works that further explored the phenomena of light and space. Greens Crossing Greens was dedicated to Mondrian, an act consistent with Flavin’s habit of paying homage to significant people in his life through his titles. The name seems particularly appropriate in this case, given the perceptual absence of green in the tubes and the work’s first exhibition in the Netherlands, the birthplace of both Mondrian and Flavin.”[1]

“Here, Flavin assumed the mantle of revising modernism, punning the primary coloured inherited dogma of early moderns, introducing green, as of nature.”[2]

The video below shows the other fluorescent installations from “Dan Flavin: A Retrospective,” at LACMA through August 12, 2007.

[1] Edward A. Shaken, Art and Electronic Media, p.64