Leo Castelli Gallery is pleased to announce a group exhibition entitled ‘Electricity.' The use of neon and light bulbs has long been associated with the Minimal and Conceptual art movement of the late sixties. However, in the early sixties, Pop artists had already introduced these elements in their work. The exhibition brings together works from the sixties by eight artists (Jim Dine, Dan Flavin, Joseph Kosuth, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Keith Sonnier and Robert Watts) in an attempt to see how each of them approached the media.
In Jim Dine's Red Light Bulb, 1962, an actual light bulb is attached to the upper right corner of the canvas, but the glow that the light bulb is supposed to generate is painted by the artist in a cartoon-like manner. James Rosenquist's Small Doorstop, 1963-67 is a residential floor plan which, unconventionally, hangs from the ceiling, with three lights suspended from it.
With his Electric Seascapes from 1967, Roy Lichtenstein does not use light as an object, but rather to create a special effect. A colored rotating light is placed above a seascape painting made of Rowlux, a reflective plastic material. As the light rotates, it casts different colored reflections on the Rowlux. The shifting illumination creates the perception of the passage of time from dawn to sunset.
Shades, 1964 by Robert Rauschenberg, is a structure made of six vertical plexiglass sheets covered with lithographed images. A light bulb projected through the plexiglass illuminates the images.
In contrast to the Pop artists, Minimal and Conceptual artists reduce light to its essence. In this exhibition, Dan Flavin's Untitled, 1969, consists of two fluorescent tubes that lean against a corner wall; pink and yellow lights glow onto the corner. Keith Sonnier's Neon Wrapping Incandescent, 1969 is composed of two light bulbs with a red neon tube wrapped around them, with a green fluorescent tube breaking the equilibrium. Joseph Kosuth is represented with one of his iconic sentences written in neon.
With a work that bridges Pop and Conceptual, Lightswitch, 1965, the artist Robert Watts plays with the notion of a light switch as an instrument to turn on a light to illuminate a space. But in this case, when the switch is flipped, a light turns on inside the switch box itself, illuminating the two screw holes of the lightswitch face plate.