TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIGHT SPEED: DAN FLAVIN AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY

ICONIC SUBLIMATION

A retrospective at the National Gallery of Art is the closest thing the American art world has to an imperial investiture, and Dan Flavin’s Washington, DC, survey was no exception. Emphatically attesting to Minimalism’s current aura, the East Wing’s squashed hexagons, triangles, and podlike vestibules were filled with his emanating objects, interiors taking on the lure of grottoes and sanctuaries (especially appealing when clusters of related works hummed and glowed together), while a modular green piece flashed from the lobby like Martian bling-bling onto Pennsylvania Avenue and the National Mall. What message beamed out from all this fluorescence? Clearly, it signaled the new determination of survey museums to include Minimalism in the canon.1 But it also left us to decode how Minimalism is being rendered canonical. Sandwiched as they were between Rothko in the basement

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