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Dia Art Foundation presents Keith Sonnier's Dis-Play II (1970) at the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton
Keith Sonnier, Installation view, the Dan Flavin Art Institute, Bridgehampton, New York. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Dia Art Foundation is presenting a new exhibition by Keith Sonnier at the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York, from July 1, 2018, to May 26, 2019. Sonnier’s exhibition features Dis-Play II (1970)—an immersive installation of foam rubber, fluorescent powder, strobe light, black light, neon, plywood, and glass—and Film and Videos 1968–1977—a decade-long exploration into sound and media work. The exhibition in Bridgehampton brings together Sonnier’s ongoing interest in film, light, and experiential art environments.

Alongside peers such as Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Eva Hesse, Bruce Nauman, and Jackie Winsor, Sonnier specifically sought out and utilized nontraditional and ephemeral materials in his art production beginning in the late 1960s. In his own words: “We made art that was defined by its defiance of the traditional idea of what could be considered art.” While superficially similar to artists working contemporaneously in industrial or found materials, Sonnier pursued what he termed “psychologically loaded” materials with strong connotations to their non-art usages, notably neon. Dis-Play II features five elements in foam, glass, and plywood that are scattered and coated with pigment powder. In the darkened space, black light, strobe light, and neon illuminate the pigment and emit a fluorescent glow.

“Dis-Play II embodies how Keith Sonnier challenged preconceived notions of sculpture,” said Jessica Morgan, Nathalie de Gunzburg Director, Dia Art Foundation. “By presenting Sonnier’s ephemeral neon installation downstairs from Dia’s permanent display of Dan Flavin’s work, Dia is connecting Minimal and Postminimal practices through their material basis. We are delighted to present Dis-Play II in tandem with Sonnier’s survey at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, allowing audiences to experience his diverse practice on the East End of Long Island, where he has lived since 1989.”

First exhibited in Sonnier’s solo exhibition at the Castelli Warehouse in New York in 1970, Dis-Play II has been shown with Film and Videos 1968–1977 since 2008. Sonnier’s pioneering role in film, oftentimes overlooked in favor of his neon sculptures, is here brought together with his concurrent exploration of nontraditional materials.

Keith Sonnier was born in Mamou, Louisiana, in 1941. He graduated with a BA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1963 and received an MFA from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in 1966. The Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain in Nice, France, presented a solo exhibitionin 2015 of Sonnier’s light work, which included Dis-Play II. His practice has been the subject of solo exhibitions a tprominent international venues including Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2002–03), Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (1999), Sprengel Museum, Hannover (1993), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (1989), Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia (1988), Museum of Modern Art, New York (1971), and Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (1970). Sonnier lives and works in New York City and Bridgehampton, New York.

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