Dan Flavin (1933-1996) is an American minimalist artist whom I just happen to adore. I encountered his work for the first time in a private home collection (nope, not joking) and I have been hooked ever since. There is just something about good neon art that fills my heart!
Flavin began using electric lights in his work in the early 1960s. The majority of his career was spent creating installations and sculptural pieces made exclusively of fluorescent light fixture tubes. Yes, just like the ones found in office spaces and dressing rooms.
Many of his works you’ll find are tube lights in different formations, which are meant to represent soaring towers in relation to the work of Russian Constructivist artist, Vladimir Tatlin. The work represents a sense of impermanence because the light can dim or burn out at anytime just like the ideals of constructivism (where learning is an active, constructive process).
Flavin’s work is designed to respond to it’s setting and build upon the architectural landscape of where it happens to be installed. You’ll find many of his works were site specific, such as his work at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas (pictured below). Flavin even stated that his work is full of implied narratives;
“It is what it is and nothing else.” – Dan Flavin
Some of my favorite venues where you can experience Flavin’s work on display year-round include Richmond Hall as part of the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas; Dia: Beacon in Beacon New York; and the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York. Each space has it’s own unique setting to showcase Flavin’s work. You should definitely check them out and prepare to be in awe!
To read more about Dan Flavin and his artworks, visit here.