Dan Flavin

Long-term view, Dia Beacon


Few artists are more identified with a particular medium than Dan Flavin. After 1963 Flavin’s work was composed almost entirely of light, in the form of commercially available fluorescent tubes in ten colors (blue, green, pink, red, yellow, ultraviolet, and four whites) and five shapes (one circular and four straight fixtures of different lengths). He arranged fixtures in varying autonomous configurations, as in the series of “monuments” for V. Tatlin (1964–90), and then increasingly in color and in relation to architecture, exemplified by his monumental barriers that physically block a passageway or segment of a space with light.

Flavin once summed up his practice as “decisions to combine traditions of painting and sculpture in architecture with acts of electric light defining space.” His simplified formal vocabulary can be related to the work of contemporaries such as Carl Andre, Walter De Maria, and Donald Judd, in its reduction of formal devices, emphasis on serial and rational rather than gestural forms, and focus on the phenomenological presence of the works rather than their narrative implications.


Dan Flavin

Dan Flavin was born in New York City in 1933. He died in Riverhead, New York, in 1996.


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FLA EN_for web

Photo: Ethan Harrison

Dan Flavin: A Retrospective

Tiffany Bell and Michael Govan

This landmark book features the artist’s most significant light works, plus reproductions of Flavin's drawings.

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Dan Flavin: A Retrospective Poster

Full-color offset poster Created for the 2004 exhibition Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, organized by Dia Art Foundation, New York, in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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FLA_for web_Photo Don Stahl

Photo: Don Stahl

Dan Flavin: The Complete Lights, 1961–1996

Tiffany Bell and Michael Govan

A complete study of the stunning light works by Dan Flavin.

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