In 1990 Dominique de Menil approached the Minimalist sculptor Dan Flavin to create a permanent, site-specific installation at Richmond Hall, then an annex exhibition space. Just two days before his death in November 1996, Flavin completed his design. The artist’s studio completed the work posthumously. Executed in the artist’s signature sensuous but utilitarian medium of fluorescent-light tubes, the Flavin installation at Richmond Hall radiates an environment and atmosphere likened to both “carnival and cathedral” by The Boston Globe.
Built in 1930 as a grocery store, Richmond Hall (named for the avenue it faces) later housed a series of dance halls and bars. The Menil Foundation acquired the building in 1985 as an additional exhibition and performance space, but had mainly relegated it to storage by 1990. Flavin, who had complete creative control over the project, chose few alterations to the original structure, taking advantage of the building’s original skylight to allow sunlight to interact with the artwork’s electric light. designing three distinct pieces for the site as it existed: exterior frieze, entrance, main hall.