Dan Flavin: A Retrospective Known as a Minimalist artist and a purveyor of its aesthetic of economy and industry, Dan Flavin shows himself to be something different in this retrospective. He is a master of drawing, though not in the conventional sense of the term. Instead of delineating lines on paper to make the illusion of three-dimensional space, Flavin places fluorescent lines of light in rooms and on walls to create effects of an altogether new type of space--ambient space. His is a kind of drawing that hovers somewhere between sculpture, architecture and the geometry of converging and diverging lines. In the 1960s, Flavin began constructing sculpture from bright white and lightly color-tinted fluorescent bulbs placed strategically in various patterns based on repetition. "Monument' 1 for V. Tatlin" (1964) pays homage to the Constructivist artist Vladimir Tatlin's rotating architecture model-cum-sculpture, "Monument to the Third International" (1919). Flavin flattens Tatlin's monument by rendering it as a sculpture of seven white fluorescent lights placed vertically on the wall in a form that mimics the shape of Tatlin's three-dimensional monument-object. The show follows Flavin's production chronologically, from the Tatlin series on the wall to color-light pieces in space. In works such as "untitled (in honor of Harold Joachim) 3" (1977) and "untitled (to Piet Mondrian)" (1985), red, yellow and green lights stand in corners and lean along walls creating form that is concrete in itself but softly lingering in its quality of light. These pieces create an effect that is at once expansive and ephemeral--glowing light-space that seems tangibly there but alternately swelling and receding. Through June 5 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth, 817-738-9215. (Charissa N. Terranova)
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David Smith: Drawing and Sculpting This old master is made new again by way of creative juxtaposition. In placing Smith's delicate sketches and paintings next to the hurly-burly of his sculpture, the Nasher transforms the sculptor into a figure deeper in cognition and more complicated in process and approach to the medium. Set off a backdrop of "sprays," paint-splattered enamel-sprayed works on paper, the sheeny, carefully scrubbed stainless steel works of the Cubi series unfold as part of a broader continuum of intellectual and material mediation. Beginning in the basement and continuing in the first of the street-level galleries, this elegantly elucidating show chronicles Smith's sculptural development from 1940-1965 as it occurred equally through painting and works on paper. Through July 17 at the Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St., 214-242-5155. Reviewed May 5. (C.T.)