• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2048

    Post-War & Contemporary Evening Sale

    12 November 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 62

    Dan Flavin (1933-1996)

    Monument 4 for those who have been killed in ambush (to P. K. who reminded me about death)

    Price Realised  


    Dan Flavin (1933-1996)
    Monument 4 for those who have been killed in ambush (to P. K. who reminded me about death)
    red flourescent light
    96 x 96 in. (243.8 x 243.8 cm.)
    Executed in 1966. This work is one from an edition of three.

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    Dan Flavin's Monument 4 for those who have been killed in ambush (to P.K. who reminded me about death) was exhibited at the influential Primary Structures show at The Jewish Museum in 1966. Created during the Vietnam War, some critics have imagined "P.K." as a possible reference to the death of Dan Flavin's brother in Vietnam, even though Flavin's brother actually died several years before the war. "P.K.," however, is Paul Katz, a friend of artist's, who was a World War II veteran, a painter, and professional photographer for the Guggenheim Museum.

    Uncommon for Flavin's fluorescent light works, the expressiveness of the title is carried over into the visual conception of the work. As Flavin himself mentioned in an interview in 1972, this was exceptional among his light works in that its form was clearly bound up with its symbolic dedication.

    Dan Flavin also served in the US Air Force in Korea (1954-1955) and witnessed how heavily the Korean War, the first armed confrontation of the Cold War, damaged the whole country. Inspired by an incident in the war in Vietnam yet, Monument 4 for those who have been killed in ambush (to P.K. who reminded me about death) extends far beyond this event. Far from a standard war memorial, the existential memorial will remain spaceless and timeless.


    The Estate of the Artist, New York
    By descent to the previous owner

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the present lot is number 108 in the catalogue raisonné.


    J. Burnham, "A Dan Flavin Retrospective in Ottawa," Artforum, vol. 8, no. 4, December 1969, pp. 51-52.
    G. Müller, The New Avant-Garde: Issues for the Art of the Seventies, New York and Washington D.C., 1972, pp. 9-10.
    G. Celant, "Dan Flavin," Domus, no. 519, February 1973, p. 44.
    Reflections: Contemporary Art Since 1964 at the National Gallery of Canada, exh. cat., Ottawa, 1984, n. p.
    P. Lee, "Die Externalisierungen von Dan Flavin," Texte zur Kunst, vol. 5, no. 20, November 1995, pp. 178-179.
    T. McEvilley, "When Light Becomes Enlightenment," Interview, May 1996, p. 42 (illustrated in color).
    R. Kalina, "In Another Light," Art in America, vol. 94, no. 6, June 1996, p. 70.
    Cattedrali d'Arte: Dan Flavin per Santa Maria in Chiesa Rossa, exh. cat., Milan, 1997, p. 166 (illustrated in color).
    L. Buck, "Dan Flavin: Prada Foundation," World of Interiors, June 1998, p. 112 (illustrated in color).
    F. Ragheb, Dan Flavin: The Architecture of Light, New York, 1999, p. 8.
    J. Meyer, Minimalism, London, 2000, p. 77 (illustrated in color).
    J. Meyer, Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties, New Haven, 2001, p. 15 (illustrated in color; also illustrated in color on the cover).
    M. Govan and T. Bell, Dan Flavin: The Complete Lights 1961-1996, New Haven, 2005, p. 23, 59, 62 and 250, no. 109 (illustrated in color).
    B. Smith, Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, New Haven, 2005, p. 132.
    J. Weiss, ed., an Flavin: New Light
    , New Haven, 2006, pp. 6, 8-9 (illustrated).


    New York, Jewish Museum, Primary Structures, 1966.
    Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada; Vancouver Art Gallery and New York, Jewish Museum of Art, Flourescent light etc. from Dan Flavin, September 1969-March 1970.
    New York, Dia Center for the Arts, Dan Flavin: European Couples and Others, September 1995-June 1996.
    Buenos Aires, Fundacion Proa, Dan Flavin, October-November 1998, p. 82.
    London, Serpentine Gallery, Dan Flavin, August-September 2001. Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada; Halifax, St. Mary's University Art Gallery; Vancouver, University of British Columbia, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and Prince George, Two Rivers Gallery, 3 x 3: Flavin, Andre, Judd, June 2003-July 2004.