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you call that art?

December 20, 2010

[Guardian]  It is a question that has dogged the contemporary art world since Duchamp put a urinal in a gallery: but is it art?

When the lights were switched on at a Dan Flavin retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London, critics were entranced. “Beautiful,” Laura Cumming wrote in the Observer in 2006. “You wonder how it is possible that so much pleasure could emit from such a dismal source: the cold fluorescent tubes of strip lighting.”

But the European commission has taken a less poetic view. Brussels has ruled that the work of the American artist, who died in 1996 after half a century of creating pioneering sculpture, should be classified for tax purposes as simple light fixtures. His work, they said, has “the characteristics of lighting fittings … and is therefore to be classified … as wall lighting fittings.” (read)

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