Saturday, March 3, 2007

Minimalism, Using Fluorescent Lights

For years I’ve been a fan of minimalism when it comes to music. What’s minimalism. It’s a movement in art and music where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features and core self expression. In terms of music, it features repetition and iteration. Good examples of this kind of music would be the works of composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and John Adams. I listen to their music when I write poetry sometimes. It’s the minimalist artist’s work that I can’t say I care for. Still, there are excellent examples we can use to illustrate it. Don Flavin’s work is one. He was born on April 1, 1933 and died on November 29, 1996. Falvin was an American minimalist sculptor who created vivid sculptural objects and installations from commercially available fluorescent light fixtures. These works, which he called "icons", have been credited with helping to start the minimalist movement in 1963.. Flavin's largest series was called "Monuments to V. Tatlin," a group of white works in homage to Russian constructivist sculptor Vladmir Tatlin. Flavin studied art history for a short time at the New School for Social Research, and drawing and painting at Columbia University. Flavin married artist Tracy Harris, at the Guggenheim Museum in 1992. His work with light began with what he called "icons," a series of painted canvases accented with halogen light fixtures. There is a small museum dedicated to Flavin's work in Bridgehampton, New York. Find out more about his life and work at:

Research info provided by:

Now, before you go to the restroom how about a little poetry:

A Reoccurring Dream, Swallowing Dreams

In this scenario
the audience is encouraged to believe
there's a cold war raging in the pitcher
of milk, performed by a secret
agent disguised as the lit interior of a late-model
car. Life is a
bed wetter that likes a constant temperature of 88 degrees.

Hand shakes are the accepted gesture when first meeting.
The demilitarize-zone wears a name-tag and is
setup between
the wrist and collarbone.
If anything aches it's OK to rub it.
Foot soldiers do. Some even open the window when they
dream. And if they get lost,
they subtract the remaining body
fluids then multiply their mother's age by two. What's left
equals religion or a canary in a coal mine. Either way, most
people don't mind
eating off paper plates and have no problem
writing a letter now
and then to a convicted felon.
They find comfort in knowing
the getaway car has a full tank and say they keep
the extra voice in
a jewelry box, simply because it's the
last place anybody would look.

This poem first appeared online at:
Copyright by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.

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