Dan Flavin and his signature florescent light tubes

Elena Carini - 03 Apr 2015

Art magazine - art news - Dan Flavin and his signature florescent light tubes


Dan Flavin is an American artist, born in Jamaica , who has worked mainly with fluorescent light. He studied for the priesthood for a brief period of time before enlisting in the United States Air Force. While working for the Army he started love art and focus on it. 

He made drawings and small paintings in gestural Abstract Expressionist styles and small constructions incorporating found objects; his first solo exhibition was held at the Judson Gallery, New York, in 1961. 


He began to make 'icons' combining electric lights with plainly painted square-fronted constructions, than he gave these up and began to work with fluorescent tubes of any commercially available colors. In 1992, he filled the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum with multicolored light, taking full advantage of the openness of the Frank Lloyd Wright design.


Guggenheim Museum New York City


He redesign the Church of Santa Maria Annunziata in Chiesa Rossa Milan in 1996. The design, a prime example of the symbiotic relationship between Flavin's work space and his sculptures, was completed two days before his death. It is the last artwork Flavin created and was installed with the help of the Dia Art Foundation and the Fondazione Prada (commissioners of the work). This permanent installation gracefully showcases Flavin's examination of his art within architectural constructs.


Chiesa Rossa in Milan


Dan Flavin died on November 29, 1996, in Riverhead, New York. Both the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin in 1999 and the Dia Foundation for the Arts in 2004 mounted major posthumous retrospectives of the artist’s work. Few artists can boast having explored a single medium as tenaciously and consistently as Davin Flavin with his signature florescent light tubes.


Giuseppe Pansa Museum, Varese

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