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Dan Flavin
Dan Flavin

Press Release

NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of early fluorescent lights and a small selection of works on paper by Dan Flavin. The exhibition will run from October 21 through December 22, 2006.

Dan Flavin (1933–1996), one of America’s most celebrated postwar artists, came to prominence in the mid-1960s along with other artists identified with the minimalist movement. Rejecting the traditional mediums of painting and cast sculpture, Flavin created “an art of light” using commercially available, standard light fixtures with which he explored ways of diffusing color, framing light and engaging architectural space.

Flavin famously decided to focus exclusively on fluorescent light fixtures on May 25, 1963, when he installed a single 8-foot tube at a 45° angle on the wall of his studio and declared it “the diagonal of personal ecstasy.” He wrote: “There was no need to compose this lamp in place; it implanted itself directly, dynamically, dramatically in my workroom wall—a buoyant and relentless gaseous image which, through brilliance, betrayed its physical presence into approximate invisibility.”

The exhibition will include one work from the Diagonal of May 25, 1963 series and three other important diagonal pieces ranging in date from 1964 to 1987. The drawings relate to the works on view.

The first retrospective of Flavin’s work was organized by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa in 1969. In 1973 the Saint Louis Art Museum presented concurrent exhibitions of his works on paper and fluorescent sculptures. Among Flavin’s many significant one-person exhibitions in Europe were shows at the Kunstmuseum Basel and Kunsthalle Basel (1975), the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (1989), and the Städtische Galerie im Städel, Frankfurt (1993). His many commissions include a series of lighted tracks at Grand Central Station in New York in 1976 and the luminous installation in the Santa Maria in Chiesa Rossa in Milan, completed posthumously in 1997.

In 1983 the Dia Center for the Arts opened a permanent exhibition of Flavin’s works at the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York. In 1992 Flavin created a monumental installation for the reopening of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. One of the artist’s last site-specific works was the sculpture illuminating two stairwells of Dia’s former Chelsea home (1996).

For more information, please contact the gallery: (212) 255-1105 or