Bright lights, small exhibit

The Smart Museum of Art’s current show, Illuminations: Sculpting with Light, running through April 4, presents a handful of works that take artificial light as an essential ingredient.

Visitors first see Charles Biederman’s #9, New York, 1940, a recent addition to the museum’s collection, incorporating blue, red, and yellow fluorescent tubes into a modernist relief sculpture.

Next they encounter three pieces by Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, and James Turrell that use light itself as sculpture. Flavin’s Untitled, 1964, for example, showcases pink and blue fluorescent tubes, hung on a gallery wall, blanketing their surroundings in a soft, pinkish glow. Finally visitors walk through rising star Stephen Hendee’s Dead Collider, 2004, an installation commissioned for the exhibit. Lit from behind by colored fluorescent and incandescent lights, a steel structure—decorated with geometric shapes—envelops them in a mod scene.

Exiting where they entered, they complete the museum’s circle of light.


February 4, 2004