Dan Flavin (1933-1996)

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

Dan Flavin (1933-1996)
monument 4 for those who have been killed in ambush (to P.K. who reminded me about death)
red fluorescent light
96 x 72 in. (244 x 183 cm.)
Executed in 1966. This work is number one from an edition of three. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.
John Weber Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner on 30 September 1975
M. Bochner, "Primary Structures," Arts Magazine, June 1966, vol. 40, no. 8, pp. 33-34 (illustrated).
C. Robins, "Object, Structure or Sculpture: Where Are We?" Arts Magazine, September-October 1966, vol. 40, no. 9, p. 36.
Dan Flavin, Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne, 1966, n.p. (another example illustrated).
Drawings and Diagrams from Dan Flavin 1963-1972; Corners, Barriers and Corridors in Fluorescent Light from Dan Flavin, exh. cat., St. Louis Art Museum, 1973, pp. 50 and 52.
M. Matta, C. Vogt and P. Blum, "Die Sammlung Panza di Biumo," Du, 1980, no. 8, p. 7, (another example illustrated in color).
G. Celant, Das Bild einer Geschichte 1956-1976: Die Sammlung Panza di Biumo, Milan, 1980, p. 102 (another example illustrated in color).
Art of the Sixties and Seventies: The Panza Collection, New York, 1987, p. 40 (another example illustrated in color).
E. Vedrenne, "Un temple du vide," Decoration Internationale, March 1987, no. 59, p. 140 (another example illustrated in color).
Arte Minimal de la Coleccion Panza, exh. cat., Madrid, 1988, p. 27 (another example illustrated in color).
R. Rosenblum, "Name in Lights," Artforum, March 1997, vol. 36, no. 7, p. 12.
J. Meyer, Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties, New Haven and London, 2001, p. 15 (illustrated).
G. Panza di Biumo, The Panza Collection: Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza, Geneva and Milan, 2002, p. 121 (another example illustrated in color).
M. Govan and T. Bell, Dan Flavin: The Complete Lights 1961-1996, New York, 2004, p. 249, no. 108 (another example illustrated in color).
C. Knight, "Painting with Light," Los Angeles Times, 3 April 2005, p.E29 (illustrated in color).
J. Weiss, ed., Dan Flavin: New Light, New Haven, 2006, pp. 6-8 and 9 (illustrated in color).
New York, Jewish Museum, Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculptors, April-June 1966, no. 14.
New York, Max's Kansas City, July 1966-1968.
Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada and The Vancouver Art Gallery, Fluorescent Light, Etc. from Dan Flavin, September-December 1969, no. 103 (illustrated).
Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Arte Minimal de la Coleccion Panza, March-December 1988 (another example exhibited).
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Global Village: The 60s, October 2003-March 2004 (another example exhibited).
Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art, Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth and Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, October 2004-October 2005, p. 132 (illustrated in color; another example exhibited).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, May-August 2007.

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Lot Essay

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Monument 4 those who have been killed in ambush (to P. K. who reminded me about death) is a rare and important work that Flavin first made for Primary Structures, the pioneering exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York in 1966. Originally entitled Corner monument 4 those who have been killed in ambush (for the Jewish Museum) (to P.K. who reminded me about death), this first version of the sculpture is an impressive, large-scale eight-foot corner-piece. Its central feature is a foreboding six-foot neon tube that juts straight out of the corner like an arrow strung in a bow. Its four-part structure simultaneously dissects and invigorates the corner of the room.

The title of the work memorialises those killed in the Vietnam War and the initials "P.K." refer to Paul Katz, a friend of Flavin's and a photographer at the Guggenheim Museum.

The red color of the neon tubes is unusual, because most fluorescent colors that Flavin used were emitted directly by a mixture of phosphorescent chemicals. The red here is produced by coating the inside of the light tube with a pigment that filters out wavelengths not specific to red. This has the effect of reducing the overall amount of light emitted from the lamp to produce an eerie glow.

Flavin himself commented in an interview in 1972 that this work was exceptional among his sculptures in this respect. To Flavin, form and choice of color was clearly bound up with its symbolic dedication. This aspect of the work was particularly evident when it was exhibited on its own in a darkened room at the 1994 Flavin exhibition in Washington D.C. Its original installation in the 1966 Primary Structures exhibit, by contrast, presented the work in the corner of a large open area filled with other works by other artists. After this exhibition, a version was also installed at the famous artist's bar and restaurant in New York at Max's Kansas City.

"I never get tired of Flavin. He's my favorite sculptor. My dream is to have one in every room."
Betty Freeman

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