On Modern American Art: Selected Essays

By Robert Rosenblum | Go to book overview

DAN FLAVlN, NAME iN LIGHTS 1997

The death of Daniel Nicholas Flavin Jr. on November 19, 1996, sent my memory rushing back to the early sixties, now a mythic moment in the history of art. Born on April 1, 1933, Flavin was part of my own generation, for which the complementary austerities of an iconic soup can and a perfect rectangle appeared to launch a visual order in which industrial uniformity and pure cerebration would be the reigning muses. Worshiping early at New York's shrines of modern art (he once worked as a guard at the Museum of Modern Art and attended Meyer Schapiro's lectures at Columbia), by 1963 Flavin had become a pillar of the fiercely intelligent young art establishment whose spirit was nurtured monthly by the then year-old Artforum. I can't remember exactly how or when we first met, but it must have been somewhere in those rigorous precincts where the likes of Carl Andre, Frank Stella, and Barbara Rose were drafting new aesthetic constitutions. Yet even within this group of the sharpest cutting edges, Flavin stood out, his toweringly intractable presence always cushioned from reality by his devoted wife, Sonia Severdija.

Teaching then at Princeton, I was only a weekender in this freshly minted world; but in the spring of 1963, my weekend extended through Mondays, when I gave a guest course at Columbia on Neoclassic painting. Always keen on art history and assuming, I think, that I was a student of Schapiro's (which I was not), Flavin asked to audit my lectures, especially those on Ingres, and then thanked me for the favor in the most generous ways. First there was a drawing dated April 25, 1963, which he offered to me with an inscribed dedication. Titled icon IV (the pure land), it copied an earlier construction (now lost), a Formic square topped horizontally by a single fluorescent tube. In 1962, when Flavin was first working on this piece, his twin brother, David John, died, and in my drawing the shrinelike object was turned into a memorial by a tombstone-type inscription that recorded his brother's birth and death date. (There is a telling parallel here to Barnett Newman Shining Forth (to George) of 1961, the painter's abstract altarpiece commemorating his own brother's death in February of that year.)

One month after he executed this drawing, Flavin, echoing Newman Onement I ( 1948), took a quantum leap, creating his first work made from nothing but a single standard eight-foot yellow fluorescent tube (fig. 154). He originally called it the diagonal of May 25, 1963 (to Constantin Brancusi), but in 1963, in a second version shown at the Kaymar Gallery, New York, he replaced Brancusi's name with mine, an apotheosis that still has me

-264-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
On Modern American Art: Selected Essays
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 386

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.