Dan Flavin - Artworks & Biography | David Zwirner
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Dan Flavin
A sculpture by Dan Flavin, titled untitled (to Sonja), dated 1969.

Dan Flavin, untitled (to Sonja), 1969

July 2–October 9, 2022

In 1974, Yvon Lambert held an exhibition of Dan Flavin’s work in his Paris gallery on the rue de  l’Échaudé, in collaboration with the artist. The show quite naturally led to a cycle of exhibitions of new American and European avant-garde artists, placing Yvon Lambert at the forefront among those championing contemporary artists. From Lawrence Weiner to Sol LeWitt  via Robert Barry, Brice Marden, On Kawara, Christo, Dennis Oppenheim, Carl Andre, Daniel  Buren, Jan Dibbets, Niele Toroni, Giulio Paolini, Marcel Broodthaers, Douglas Huebler, and Robert  Ryman—the most innovative artists of the 1960s and ’70s worked with the Parisian dealer and are present today in Avignon in the museum that has been home to his collection since 2000. 

Extensive correspondence between the collector and the American artist, held in the archives of the Galerie Yvon Lambert, provides documentation of the 1974 exhibition and the relationship between the two men at the time. That same year, as a sign of friendship, Dan Flavin presented Yvon Lambert with three diagrams for the realization of a lightwork he wished to dedicate to him: (for Yvon Lambert), 1974. The drawings were unfortunately lost by the gallerist’s friend, who was sent to New York to show them to Flavin again so he could review them before creating the lightwork. The drawings never resurfaced. Years later, however, the drawings did reappear in the form of documentary photographs held by the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Paris) that, in the 1970s, would regularly commission a photographer to document Parisian gallery shows, ensuring that all the artworks be documented and archived. 

Epiphany, planned for the summer of 2022 aims to reactivate this memory and complete the story and the collaboration between the two men through the organization, in Avignon, of an exhibition of a selection of emblematic artworks by the artist. If Dan Flavin had not died four years before the Collection Lambert took up residence in the Papal City, there is no doubt that he would have been invited, and would certainly have stayed, as have all the artists whose work has been championed by Yvon Lambert. Artists including Sol Lewitt, On Kawara, Lawrence Weiner, Brice Marden, Robert Barry, Carl Andre, Cy Twombly, and Giulio Paolini, among others, many of whom have spent time working at the Collection, sometimes producing specific artworks. 

The exhibition is organized around artworks that Dan Flavin dedicated to his artist friends who worked alongside him in the aesthetic revolution of the 1960s and ’70s, or to earlier artists that he has paid homage to, showing their resilience to the test of time.  

Whether Flavin’s titles refer to Vladimir Tatlin, Josef Albers, Henri Matisse, Alexander “Sandy” Calder, Ad Reinhardt, Barnett Newman, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, David Smith, Sol LeWitt, or Donald Judd—artists that Yvon Lambert also has a special affection for—these pieces form, above all, a series of epiphanies setting up the possibility for a thought-provoking experience of art and the place in which it is shown, in the here and now. 

While intricately conveying the respect and affection that the two men had for the artists of their time, for those whose work has redirected the course of art history since the emergence of modernity, the exhibition also shows how Dan Flavin’s work opens new horizons in the way art is experienced, conceived, created, and inscribed into new sensory situations on offer to those who experience them firsthand. And how, since the celebrated the diagonal of May 25, 1963 (to Constantin Brancusi), these arrangements of fluorescent lights—that the artist explains “is what it is and it ain’t nothing else”—invent a multitude of new situations where the relationship to art is redefined or tested, between dissolution and resolution. As such, the installation of works by Dan Flavin in the hotel de Montfaucon (Collection Lambert) will offer, for the duration of the exhibition, an unprecedented extension of the reflections of other artists of the same generation, and whose work is on exhibit in the permanent collection, from Robert Ryman to Donald Judd, and from Lawrence Weiner to Sol LeWitt.

 

June 13, 2019–April 12, 2020

Three works by Dan Flavin will go on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Miami. Puerto Rican light (to Jeanie Blake) 2 (1965), part of the ICA’s permanent collection, will be presented in its own gallery space along with two works loaned by the Estate of Dan Flavin on the occasion of this exhibition: four red horizontals (to Sonja) (1963), and a primary picture (1964).

Produced over three consecutive years, these works date from Flavin’s earliest experiments with fluorescent lamps, which he first employed in 1963 to create the diagonal of May 25, 1963. The artist’s installations (or "situations," as he preferred to call them) of light and color enabled him to explore how space can be established and redefined using light—an idea he pursued for the rest of his life. In a text published in Artforum in 1965, Flavin described his goal of working on "a sequence of implicit decisions to combine traditions of painting and sculpture in architecture with acts of electric light defining space."

An eight-foot vertical installation of red, pink, and yellow fluorescent light, Puerto Rican light (to Jeanie Blake) 2 is dedicated to a woman who was working at Green Gallery, in New York, at the time of Flavin’s seminal solo exhibition there in 1964; Blake told the artist that his fluorescent works reminded her of "Puerto Rican lights." This work was a gift to the ICA’s permanent collection by Joan and Roger Sonnabend.

Also being shown at the ICA, four red horizontals (to Sonja) is named for the artist’s first wife, Sonja Severdija. A horizontal composition of red fluorescent lamps hung at eye level on the wall like a painting, four red horizontals (to Sonja), like the other works in this show, is an important example of the development of Flavin’s practice towards the "site-situational" work he would become known for.

A second loan from the Estate of Dan Flavin for this show, a primary picture is a rectangular wall piece composed of red, yellow, and blue light. The work makes formal reference to the format of the traditional canvas, or picture plane, and exemplifies what Flavin's friend and fellow artist Donald Judd described, in his 1964 article "Specific Objects," as "neither painting nor sculpture." A primary picture was first shown in the Green Gallery exhibition the year after it was made.

David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin
537 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
Telephone: 212 517 8677
Fax: 212 517 8959

Email: [email protected]

Dan Flavin Image Requests
And Reproduction Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in the work of Dan Flavin. Please review the following steps for requesting an image and/or permission for reproduction from the Estate of Dan Flavin.

Please note: in order to process your request, you will need to contact both David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin and Artists Rights Society (ARS).

David Zwirner represents the Estate of Dan Flavin and can provide images from the Estate in accordance with the terms hereof. However, David Zwirner does not hold the copyright license for images of the artist’s work. In order to reproduce any images of Dan Flavin, you must obtain the copyright license from Artists Rights Society (ARS) by contacting them directly at:

Artists Rights Society (ARS)
536 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10012
Tel: 212 420 9160

www.arsny.com

Any fees pertaining to the copyright license will be billed directly through Artists Rights Society.

Step 1:

Please request/download and fill out the Image Request/Reproduction Application. Please email, mail, or fax a completed copy to:

David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin
537 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
Telephone: 212 517 8677
Fax: 212 517 8959
Email: [email protected]

Step 2:

Please contact ARS to obtain the copyright license for the requested image(s). Once ARS approves your request, they will send you a letter granting the copyright license and an ARS invoice for the licensing fee. Please email, mail, or fax a copy of this ARS paperwork to David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin at the address listed above in order to supplement your application.

Step 3:

Once the copyright license is approved by ARS, and the ARS paperwork is presented to David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin, you will receive a signed copy of the Image Request/Reproduction Application, granting permission for reproduction. Any processing fees* (separate from the ARS licensing fee) due to David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin at this time will be listed on the application.

Step 4:

Payment of any processing fees due to David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin must be received before any requested photographic materials will be released. Payment can be made in the form of a money order, check, bank wire transfer, or credit card to David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin. See “Turn-around Time and Fees” below for further information.

Step 5:

To ensure accuracy in color reproduction, one final proof must be submitted to David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin for comparison with the original before publication. David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin will either advise of any necessary color adjustments or grant approval of the proof.

Step 6:

David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin will receive from the publisher, on publication and without charge, two copies of the publication containing the reproduction.

*Please note: submission of the request does not guarantee David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin’s ability to fulfill the order. In the event that the order cannot be fulfilled, notification will be sent to that effect.

Turn-around Time and Fees:

  • Approximately 2-4 weeks from time of payment, with a non-guaranteed date of delivery.
  • Rush service (approximately 5-10 business days) may be available for a 100% surcharge.
  • 48 hour image delivery may be available at the discretion of David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin for a 200% surcharge.
  • Images are shipped First Class mail (postpaid) unless special delivery is requested and paid for by the user.

*Processing fees are the sum of two fees: permission and production fees (consisting of, but not limited to, transparency production, commission of original photography, lab fees, etc). Fees vary according to the kind of original material copied, the type of copy requested, and the intended use of the copy, and are subject to change. We are pleased to support non-profit organizations with reduced rates. These fees are separate from the licensing fees that ARS may charge.

The approved and signed Image Request/Reproduction Application will also include the total amount due for processing fees, and will serve as an Invoice. Payments can be made by check, money order, credit card, or bank wire transfer. Full payment instructions are listed on the Image Request/Reproduction Application.

If payment is not issued within 30 days of receiving the signed Application/Invoice, permission will be withdrawn and photographic materials will not be supplied. All fees are non-refundable, even if image is not reproduced, and subject to change without notice.

Image Guidelines
Image Reproduction Application

David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin
537 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011

[email protected]

Telephone: 212.517.8677
Fax: 212.517.8659

David Zwirner/The Estate of Dan Flavin
537 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011

Kristine Bell
[email protected]

Greg Lulay
[email protected]
Telephone: 212.517.8677
Fax: 212.517.8659

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