Published by David Zwirner Books. Text by Michael Auping. Contributions by Alexandra Whitney.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at David Zwirner in 2015, Corners, Barriers and Corridors takes as its point of departure Dan Flavin’s (1933–96) influential corners, barriers and corridors in fluorescent light from Dan Flavin show, presented at the Saint Louis Art Museum in 1973. The volume brings questions of architecture to the fore, exploring how this particular body of light works function in space. Mining early explorations in Flavin’s practice, the book includes many works reproduced for the first time in plates that accurately capture their colors. Above all, the photography reveals the unexpected and powerful interplay between the light of Flavin’s constructions and the surrounding space; these works not only function as color experiments but as structural explorations in light. This catalogue presents an especially significant body of work, along with new scholarship by Michael Auping, offering a vital historical perspective on Flavin’s practice.
From 1963, when he conceived the diagonal of May 25, 1963 (to Constantin Brancusi), a single gold, fluorescent lamp that is installed on a diagonal on the wall—a work which marks the artist’s first use of fluorescent light alone, until his death in 1996, Dan Flavin (1933-1996) produced a singularly consistent and prodigious body of work that utilized commercially-available fluorescent lamps to create installations, or “situations” as he preferred to call them, of light and color. Through the construction of light, Flavin was able to literally establish and redefine space.
Michael Auping is chief curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas.
Alexandra Whitney is Director of Research and Exhibitions at David Zwirner.
Published by David Zwirner Books|Steidl. Text by Tiffany Bell, Anne Rorimer, Richard Shiff, Alexandra Whitney. Interview with Dan Graham.
Series and Progressions examines Dan Flavin's (1933-96) use of progressions and serial structures, ideas that were central throughout his career. Famed for creating sculptural objects and installations from fluorescent light fixtures, Flavin was one of the first artists to employ a systematic arrangement of color and light, and had a major influence on Conceptual artistic practices. This monograph includes over 50 full-color plates of work ranging from 1963 to 1990, in addition to a comprehensive selection of installation views and archival photographs and documents. It also includes newly commissioned scholarship by Tiffany Bell, Anne Rorimer, Richard Shiff and Alexandra Whitney; an interview with Dan Graham; a facsimile of the original catalogue from Flavin's 1967-68 exhibition alternating pink and 'gold' at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and a detailed illustrated chronology of Flavin's exhibition history.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Rainer Fuchs, Karola Kraus, Stefan Neuner, Juliane Rebentisch, Roland Wäspe.
The years 1955–1965 saw artists wreaking havoc with the parameters of painting. If Abstract Expressionists had proposed art as the manipulation of paint on a flat plane, the American artist Dan Flavin further refined art as the manipulation of light itself. Starting out as a convert to Abstract Expressionism in the late 1950s, Flavin quickly disposed of painting’s “frame,” as sculptural light object. He first used fluorescent light in a 1961 series of square boxes with lights attached to the sides, titled Icons. The spiritual connotations of the title were soon eschewed for a radical materiality: “It is what it is, and it ain’t nothin’ else,” he famously once said of his work: “everything is clearly, openly, plainly delivered.” By using such an everyday material (neon tubing) and arranging it in simple compositions (in rows, or as diagonals, grids, right angles, arcs), Flavin attained a powerful combination of ordinariness and grandeur, and a purity on a par with the modernist artists to whom he dedicated works--Brancusi, Mondrian, Tatlin. This catalogue offers the broadest appraisal of Flavin’s achievement to date. With 200 color plates, it traces his development, from the early painted objects to the first neon tubes, beginning with the “Diagonal of May 25, 1963 (to Constantin Brancusi),” and beyond. Also included here are his much admired drawings and prints. Dan Flavin (1933–1996) was born in New York to Irish-Catholic parents. During military service in 1954–55, he was trained as a meteorological technician; returning to New York in 1956, he studied art at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts and at Columbia University. Following his development of neon sculpture, Flavin’s first museum exhibition was held at the St Louis Art Museum in 1973. Just two days before his death in November 1996, Flavin completed the design for his famous installation at the Menil Collection in Houston.
Dan Flavin’s radical use of fluorescent light throughout and beyond the 1960s forever changed the definitions of sculptural practice. This volume is an indispensable anthology on one of the central figures of Minimalism. Spanning four decades, It Is What It Is charts the evolution of consensus about the meaning of Flavin's art, highlighting the gradual acceptance to his ideas and his profound influence on postwar art history. Key essays on the artist and reviews of his exhibitions are assembled together for the first time in this volume, including some of the most influential artists, art critics and art historians working today – from Donald Judd and Lucy R. Lippard to Hilton Kramer and Rosalind Krauss.