O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

There is a light and it rarely goes out

Dan Flavin's Flourescence lights up the Ikon Gallery

get the weekly Outsideleft newsletter
by Lee Paul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: June, 2016
Don't try this at home
by Lee Paul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: June, 2016
Don't try this at home

Dan Flavin
It is what it is and it ain't nothing else
Ikon Gallery, 
Birmingham, UK 
Until June 26th
Free to get in. You'll want to donate on the way out.

You know how much we love Art Superstars and You'll know this is not the first time we've encountered the wilfully abstract expressionism of Dan Flavin - one of the giants of 50s/60s American art blow up years. Oh no. We go way back with Dan. At least as far as here and even back to here. We're big fans of self reference to push up those page views and we are even bigger fans of Dan Flavin.

Dan Flavin's It is what it is and it ain't nothing else is currently all over the Birmingham (UK) Ikon Gallery, taking over two gallery floors, and is not a sight for sore eyes, it is a sight to behold. That it's not a sight for sore eyes, this much I know because I'd invited my friend Warren the Shoemaker and he worried that Flavin's gaudy fluorescence might push his hangover over the edge. "No one wants to see that," said Warren the Shoe. 

It's quiet in there. I'm always anticipating the low level hum of cheap fittings and tubes and the flickering of crappy starter motors. That it's quiet in there didn't prevent us occasionally breaking into dances of joy. And then the static tubes came to life too. Dancing with us. Such 60s futurism, a regular 70s disco. It's not all about the light fittings fastened to the wall, stupid. As Bill Clinton said. It's about how the light dances around the room. And it moves and it is gone. 

I mentioned to Mr. Lake that the Dan Flavin was in town... "Last time I saw Dan," Mr. Lake said, "It was like the last day of a closing down sale in the lighting department at Home Depot." Maybe so. Maybe it's because Dan Flavin makes leaning fluorescent tubes against a wall look so, so like... Like why didn't I think of that? easy. But just because Dan Flavin makes it look easy doesn't mean you should try it at home. 

More Info: Ikon website

see more stories from outsideleft's Culture archive »»

Lee Paul

I like to look at things while listening to things I am not looking at. But doesn't everyone.

more stories you really could read...


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...


sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

Bless My Soul: Sharon Jones & Bettye Lavette
These two ladies rule the old school jams and rock it harder than you do.
Rebel Art
Panic Attack! - Art in the Punk Years at London's Barbican proves the notion that punk was one of the most vital and significant cultural markers of the 20th Century.
Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vikings
Eisenman's Field Of Memory
What if They Opened King Tut's Tomb, and It Was Filled With Weed?
That and other pointed questions will be answered in the reissue of the lost hippie classic recordings of Gary Higgins
Hats Off to Larry
Sometimes something crops up that makes you swoon all over again. These cruddy days, that's good isn't it?
Some of our favorite things...