One of two rooms devoted to Dan Flavin, this display features some of his extensive series of ‘monuments’ dedicated to the Russian constructivist artist Vladimir Tatlin. Since his breakthrough work the diagonal of May 25, 1963 (to Constantin Brancusi), Flavin had dedicated his sculptures to other artists, philosophers, collectors, and dealers. He greatly admired early Russian avant-garde art, particularly the work of Tatlin, who he described as ‘the great revolutionary, who dreamed of art as science.’ In 1964 he embarked on a series of tower-shaped sculptures dedicated to Tatlin. Flavin continued to produce these ‘monuments’ until 1990.
The title of the series refers to Tatlin’s most famous unrealised project, the Monument to the Third International, designed in 1919–20. This 400m double-helix tower was intended to dwarf the Eiffel Tower and stand as the defining symbol of constructivist modernity.
Flavin’s monuments are among his most austere works, composed only of cool white fluorescent tubes and avoiding his characteristically exuberant use of colour. He also restricted himself to rectilinear, symmetrical arrangements, without the horizontal and diagonal elements included elsewhere.
Dan Flavin (1933–1996) was born in New York City. He lived and worked in New York City and Long Island, NY.
Dan Flavin, "monument" for V. Tatlin, 1975 (1975)
© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2004