The Dan Flavin Art Institute is a unique museum on Corwith Avenue in Bridgehampton, just steps away from Main Street. Dan Flavin (1933-1996) created art with light, objects he once referred to as “on and off art.” Many of his sculptures are in big museums like the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art, but you can see some right here in Bridgehampton.
Most of the museum is made up of installations of nine fluorescent light sculptures created in the ’60s and ’70s. They are simple, in red, blue, pink, green, yellow and various shades of white, but sometimes the simplest things look the coolest.
The building itself has a century of history. It started out as a firehouse in 1908 and then became the home of The First Baptist Church of Bridgehampton in 1924 before it become the art institute in 1983. There is a special room on the second floor devoted to the building’s church years. It contains a stained-glass window, a 110-year-old Bible, a bench to sit on, old pictures of former congregations and a big neon cross that used to hang on the outside of the building.
The Dan Flavin Art Institute is small yet one of the most amazing places to visit. We love the dazzling colors. Our favorite installation is the orange horizontal lights because on one side the lights appear pink and on the other, orange. Our English teacher, Tom House, sometimes takes his classes on field trips to the institute to take pictures and write poems or stories or journal entries.
“I love it there. It’s so Zen-like and inspiring,” Mr. House said. “Not everyone realizes there’s a beautiful, world-class collection of Minimalist light sculptures a minute from Main Street. It’s like stumbling on a secret little jewel box. And you can go back to it as many times as you like for free, thanks to the DIA Art Foundation.”
We think the Dan Flavin Art Institute should definitely be recognized more by the people in Bridgehampton and in other villages on the East End.
Marie Hand and Thomas House’s sixth- and seventh-grade students, Bridgehampton School