Museum Brandhorst

Dan Flavin

The trademark of Dan Flavin, born in 1933 in New York City and one of the chief proponents of American Minimal Art, is his use of fluorescent light for his installations. After graduating from high school, Flavin trained to be an aeronautical meteorologist in the United States Air Force and worked as such in South Korea in 1954/55. Back in New York at the end of the ’50s, he studied art history at the New School for Social Research and at Columbia University, working subsequently in various museums in New York. He was a self-taught artist. Flavin used lightbulbs for the first time in his works in 1961 and, from 1963 onwards, concentrated exclusively on creating light installations using fluorescent light tubes. Up until his death in 1996 in Riverhead/New York, Flavin systematically worked on the spatial effect of light and colour.

The seven coloured or white light works from Flavin’s so-called "installations in fluorescent light"; in the Brandhorst Collection cover the artist’s creative period from 1964 to 1990. In addition to the early work "Untitled" (1964), whose green and pink fluorescent tubes are fixed directly on the wall, there is also a piece extending into the room ("Untitled", 1966) whose nine blindingly white neon tubes seem to hold the wall and the floor together like a hinge. The Collection also owns a work from the famous group "monuments for V. Tatlin"; (1964–82), comprising 35 works in all, that Flavin dedicated to the Russian artist and Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin.

Dan Flavin | Untitled, 1966 plastic, fluorescent tubes, cool white Photo: Museum Brandhorst, Nicole Wilhelms
		© Estate Dan Flavin, VG Bild-Kunst 2013

Dan Flavin | Untitled, 1966

plastic, fluorescent tubes, cool white

Photo: Museum Brandhorst, Nicole Wilhelms
© Estate Dan Flavin, VG Bild-Kunst 2013