Artist Spotlight: Dan Flavin

Written by: Nima A.K.

Flavin, Dan. untitled (to Barry, Mike, Chuck and Leonard), 1972-75. Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Daniel Flavin was born in New York in 1933. After studying for priesthood, he enlisted in the United States Air Forces, where, oddly enough, he began his art career.  During his military services, he studied art at the University of Maryland Extension Program in Korea, and afterwards at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in New York. His early works and first solo show are based on collages and watercolour paintings in abstract expressionism.

In 1961, Dan Flavin began working on what were labeled as Icons: sculptures which incorporate electric lights. Later, in 1963, he began working with fluorescent tubes, which would become his signature. In the 1980s, Flavin expanded this idea even further and concentrated his work on fluorescent installation.

Flavin’s art has been exhibited by many galleries and museums, such as the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the St. Louis Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.  His work was exhibited countless times before he died in New York in 1996, and continues to be appreciated to this day.

Flavin, Dan. untitled (to Don Judd, colorist) 1-5, 1987.


Flavin, Dan. untitled (to Helga and Carlo, with respect and affection), 1974. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., USA.


Flavin, Dan. untitled (to Donna) II, 1971. Portland Museum.


Flavin, Dan. untitled. 1996. Installation at Richmond Hall, The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas.

Flavin, Dan. untitled (in honor of Harold Joachim) 3, 1977. The Dan Flavin Institute, Dia Art Foundation, Bridgehampton, New York.