Dan Flavin


    • Male
    • Abstract expressionist

    About the artist

    1933: Born in Queens, New York
    1968: Begins involvement with the German art dealer Heiner Friedrich
    1996: Dies November 29 in Riverhead, New York, on Long Island.

    Was an American minimalist artist famous for creating sculptural objects and installations from commercially available fluorescent light fixtures.

    Daniel Nicholas Flavin Jr. was born in New York of Irish Catholic descent and sent to Catholic schools. He studied for the priesthood at the Immaculate Conception Preparatory Seminary in Brooklyn between 1947 and 1952 before leaving to join his fraternal twin brother, David John Flavin, and enlist United States Air Force. During military service in 1954–55, Flavin was trained as an air weather meteorological technician and studied art through the adult extension program of the University of Maryland in Korea. Upon his return to New York in 1956, Flavin briefly attended the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts and studied art under Albert Urban. He later studied art history for a short time at the New School for Social Research, then moved on to Columbia University, where he studied painting and drawing.

    From 1959, Flavin was shortly employed as a mailroom clerk at the Guggenheim Museum and later as guard and elevator operator at the Museum of Modern Art, where he met Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard, and Robert Ryman. Two years later, he married his first wife Sonja Severdija, an art history student at New York University and assistant office manager at the Museum of Modern Art. Flavin’s first works were drawings and paintings that reflected the influence of Abstract Expressionism. In 1959, he began to make assemblages and mixed media collages that included found objects from the streets, especially crushed cans

    Flavin married his second wife, the artist Tracy Harris, in a ceremony at the Guggenheim Museum, in 1992.

    Flavin died in Riverhead, New York of complications from diabetes.His estate is represented by David Zwirner, New York.

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