First shown at the Institute for the Arts at Rice University in Houston, Texas, in 1972, the works appear courtesy of the Estate of Dan Flavin.
Dan Flavin was born in 1933, in Jamaica, New York, and later studied at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, New School for Social Research, and Columbia University. His first solo exhibition was at the Judson Gallery, New York, in 1961; he made his first work with electric light that same year, and began using fluorescent tubes in 1963. The choice of material was motivated in part by a desire to break free from both Abstract Expressionism and Pop art by seizing on the anonymous and industrial nature of a familiar com- mercial product. Flavin worked with this self-imposed limitation for the rest of his career, producing endless combinations of light, color, and space in serial and systematic compositions. While outwardly simple and direct, these arrangements produce visual effects of surprising subtlety. And while changes in lighting technology have caused problems for his work’s con- servators in recent years, Flavin himself embraced the temporary nature of his sculptures, and was happy to replace parts as needed.
“As visual culture moves faster and further toward the instantaneous and the ephemeral,” observes Mana Contemporary’s Artistic Director, Eugene Lemay, “the value of observing art over the long term has been obscured. At Mana, art is framed not as an ephemeral experience, but instead as an enduring phenomenon, not only as a discrete presentation, but also in the context of immersive settings.” Dan Flavin: cornered fluorescent light is one such setting, and will be on display at Mana in conjunction with new and continuing projects by canonical artists John Chamberlain, Bernard Kirschenbaum, Arnulf Rainer, Fred Sandback, and Andy Warhol, and alongside Flat Out: Works on Paper 1960–2000, an exhibition curated by Ysabel Pinyol and Karline Moeller that explores the language of drawing as used by artists associated with Minimalism and Conceptualism in their founding years.
Dan Flavin has had major solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden; St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri; and Morgan Library and Museum, New York. Dan Flavin: A Retrospective toured to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Hayward Gallery, London; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich. His works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Dia: Beacon, New York; Menil Collection, Houston; and National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among many others. Dan Flavin died in Riverhead, New York, on November 29, 1996.