Friday, June 21, 2013

Dealing with the hereafter

The news that the estate of neon artist Dan Flavin has lifted its “ban on the posthumous production of unrealised fluorescent light sculptures” probably gave the Len Lye Foundation a flutter. As the producers of Len Lye sculptures sometimes controversially based on a few notes and sketches by the artist, the thought that a major Foundation had declared for life after death must have seemed like a lifeline. 

No such luck. The Flavin Estate is not about to make its own versions of Flavin’s work or create new works from info in its archives. It's simply going to fill out editions of existing sculptures. Even this project is still the cause of consternation. Flavin's guardians have shown a serious commitment to the integrity of the body of work in their care and they certainly face special challenges. The bulbs used in some works are no longer in commercial production and substitutes may have to be found. To try and avoid even this variance from the artist’s original concept for as long as possible the Foundation stockpiles tubes as originally used by Flavin.