Raf Simons Has His Own Take on Christmas Lights


Tradition has it that the storefronts of Madison Avenue become aglow with festive lights during the holidays. Each luxury brand has its own interpretation of the word “festive,” some taking the Christmas theme to much more literal heights than others. Over at Calvin Klein, its halls aren’t exactly decked with boughs of lit-up holly. Instead, at the behest of Raf Simons, the Madison Avenue flagship store has its own take on illumination with a special installation by the late American sculptor Dan Flavin, a contemporary artist famous for his use of flourescent tube lighting.

Simons’s request is actually a reinstallation of Flavin’s ‘Untitled’ lamp sculptures that had originally been commissioned by Calvin Klein himself back in 1996. The reveal came one month after the artist’s death and was known to be the second to last piece that he had worked on.

Flavin’s chosen medium has been described as a “paradigm-shifting aesthetic act,” which is difficult to comprehend in today’s over-saturated contemporary art world. Each of his installations were site-specific, with lights that created new angles, and a new experience within the architecture where they lived. Then and now, his varying configurations of red and white lamps—an almost satirical take on Christmas lights—could be described as “minimalist,” though it was a label that the artist had been outspokenly against. That said, it’s easy to see the connection between Flavin and Raf Simons, whose artistic background extends well beyond the realm of fashion. Both artists, though widely praised, have been just as often misunderstood, trying to forgo the labels that have been assigned to them. Flavin famously simplified his work, boiling it down to simply “light and architecture.” He once said, “One might not think of light as a matter of fact, but I do. And it is, as I said, as plain and open and direct an art as you will ever find.”

Perhaps clothing is clothing and lights are lights, but that doesn’t account for the impact that innovators like Dan Flavin, Calvin Klein, and Raf Simons have had on their respective industries. As of today, ‘Untilted’ lives in the storefront windows and the ground floor of Calvin Klein’s Madison Avenue location in New York. Additionally, a new book titled Lights by Dan Flavin is available for purchase at the store or online by clicking here.


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createdAt:Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:17:07 +0000
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