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Dan Flavin


For more than three decades, Dan Flavin (1933-1996) vigorously pursued the artistic possibilities of fluorescent light. The artist radically limited his materials to commercially available fluorescent tubing in standard sizes, shapes, and colors, extracting banal hardware from its utilitarian context and inserting it into the world of high art. The resulting body of work at once possesses a straightforward simplicity and a deep sophistication. Utilizing fluorescent light tubing available on the commercial market, Dan Flavin created light installations (or “situations” as he preferred to call them) that became icons of Minimalism. Flavin’s wall- and floor-mounted, site-specific fixtures, composed of intersecting and parallel lines of light in conventional colors, flood spaces with their glow. A number of the sculptures feature tubes traversing corners or doorways, or at a right angle to the wall, further engaging the architecture of a room. As Flavin’s installations grew more complex, so too did the spaces built expressly for the purpose of exhibiting them. In 1959, when Flavin was shortly employed as a guard and elevator operator at the Museum of Modern Art, he met fellow Minimalists Sol LeWittRobert Mangold, and Robert Ryman.

Selected Exhibitions

2016 The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco

2016 American Prints, Sebastian Fath Contemporary, Mannheim

2015 Dan Flavin, 2 works, Judd Foundation, New York

2015 Black Sun, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen

2015 Take an Object, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

2015 American Icons, RMN Grand Palais, Paris

2015 Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015, Whitechapel Gallery, London

2006 Gallery Nikki Diana Marquardt, Paris

2006 Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, France

2004 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 

2004 "Design‚Art: Functional Objects from Donald Judd to Rachel Whiteread," Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, NY 

2003 "Flavin, Andre, Judd", National Gallery of Canada, Halifax

2003 "Collection, Nouvelle Presentation", Musee Art Contemporain Lyon, France

2003 "Flavin, Judd, Lewitt, Serra - Early Works", Zwierner & Wirth

2003 Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

2000 Galerie Trabant, Vienna, Austria

2000 Zwirner & Wirth, New York, New York

1999 Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, New York

1999 Annemarie Verna Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland

1989 Gallery Nikki Diana Marquardt, Paris

1987 Gallery Nikki Diana Marquardt, Paris