By Michael Govan and Tiffany Bell
Dan Flavin (1933–1996) is considered one of the most important and innovative artists of the late 20th century. The simplicity and systematic character of his extraordinary work, along with his relentless exploration and ingenious discovery of an art of light, established him as a progenitor and chief exponent of Minimalism. Uniquely situated outside the mediums of painting and sculpture, the majority of Flavin’s work after 1963 consists of art made from light.
This landmark book—the first retrospective publication of Flavin’s art since 1969—includes approximately 45 of the artist’s most important light works, beginning with a pivotal series of constructed boxes with attached incandescent or fluorescent lights, called “icons,” made from 1961 to 1963. Works spanning Flavin’s career are discussed in depth, including examples that integrate light with the surrounding space and show the particular characteristics of blended fluorescent light, large-scale installations and constructed corridors. The book also includes reproductions of Flavin’s drawings, which show his thought processes and working methods. New scholarship and interpretation of Flavin’s work appears in the form of three critical essays by experts, an extensive chronology, comprehensive bibliography and exhibition history. In addition, Flavin’s seminal text “‘. . . in daylight or cool white.’ an autobiographical sketch,” originally published in Artforum in 1965, is included.
Exquisitely designed and produced, with many new stunning color reproductions, Dan Flavin: A Retrospective captures the brilliance of this artist’s contribution to and challenges of the art world and will be the authoritative volume on Flavin for years to come.