Dan Flavin, minimalism, store-bought art materials, flourescent light bulbs, the seduction of money, provenances, and the Dark Side of Success (thanks Jesse).
"One factor in valuing a Flavin, however, dwarfs all others: the certificate that accompanied its production. To those who wonder what the difference is between a Flavin and the lights in their office, the certificate, more or less, is the answer.Read Greg Allen's whole article here.
Each of the more than 750 light sculptures that Flavin designed - usually in editions of three or five - were listed on index cards and filed away. When one sold, the buyer received a certificate containing a diagram of the work, its title and the artist's signature and stamp. If someone showed up with a certificate and a damaged fixture, Flavin would replace it. But without a certificate, the owner was out of luck. Today, Christie's won't even consider a Flavin sculpture unless it's accompanied by an original document."
Update: Todd Gibson points out that Allen followed up the NYT article in his BLOG with excerpts from two additional interviews (curator and collector Emily Rauh Pulitzer and son Stephen Flavin, who now controls the Flavin Estate) that took place after the Allen article went to press.