Mary Lucier

American (Bucyrus, Ohio, 1944)

Dawn Burn

video installation | seven-channel video installation and single slide projection
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  • Dawn Burn

    Mary Lucier, Dawn Burn, 1975/1993; seven-channel video installation and single slide projection, 98 in. x 45 in. x 54 in. (248.92 cm x 114.3 cm x 137.16 cm); Collection SFMOMA, © Mary Lucier

Lucier first emerged as a video artist in the early 1970s and is best known for her large-scale sculptural installations. With Dawn Burn she investigates light and landscape as well as the intersection of technology and nature.

Lucier's seven channels of landscape video imagery record seven consecutive sunrises over the East River in New York. Aligning the horizon with the bottom edge of the television frame, Lucier videotaped the sun's gradual elevation. As its luminosity grew to exceed the video camera's tolerance level, the sun burned a spot in the camera tube. This left the camera's tube, and the videotapes made with it, indelibly scarred. Lucier embraced this "flaw" for its lyricism and documentary quality.

The seven tapes are shown on seven monitors, each slightly larger than the one before, presented in an obelisk-like structure, emphasizing the efflorescence of light and suggesting a relationship between the video medium and environmental resources.

98 in. x 45 in. x 54 in. (248.92 cm x 114.3 cm x 137.16 cm)
Acquired 1991
Collection SFMOMA
© Mary Lucier


New York, sunrise, monitors, projection, East River

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