“I Want My Money Back!”
Dan Flavin's first museum exhibition, now legendary, provoked mixed responses at the time.
Rhona Hoffman, who is a great gallerist and my dear friend, she and I were volunteers at the time. I repeat, everybody was a volunteer practically, sitting at the front desk of the old building, of course, and we had a little cash box. I mean, nothing like a cash register. Nothing that glamorous. We had a little tin box, and the admission was 50 cents. So, people would come in and they’d give us 50 cents, and they’d give us a dollar and we’d make some change and give them 50 cents back.
And people were so outraged by the exhibition, they’d run back and say, “There is no show! There is no exhibition! It’s a bunch of light bulbs on the wall. There’s no exhibition. I want my money back.” So we gave them their money back. Pretty soon we ran out of money, because people came back twice when they realized they could do that. So, to say it was not popular with the public is a major understatement, but it’s been very popular with history.