Currently on view at the Morgan Library is a unique exhibition which allows viewers to see a rare and personal side of artist Dan Flavin. The artist’s oeuvre is defined almost entirely by his fluorescent light sculptures. What many people don’t know, however, is that Flavin was also a patron of and contributor to the medium of drawing. I learned from Dan Flavin: Drawing that the artist was a faithful and meticulous draftsman who explored the medium not only for preparatory purposes, but also as an outlet for poetic self-expression. The exhibition features dozens of Flavin’s personal drawings which include preliminary sketches for installations, as well as nautical scenes, landscapes, and portraits.
The works in the exhibition that I found to be the most powerful were the prelusive sketches that Flavin executed for works that were unfortunately never realized. For instance, the artist created and submitted a detailed plan for a memorial fountain to honor the life and memory of Pablo Picasso. The actual project never came to fruition, but the exhibition features two of Flavin’s carefully rendered drawings for the memorial. It is interesting to learn that even an artist like Dan Flavin, who had a long and fruitful artistic career, was not able to execute all of the grand and novel ideas that he had. The exhibition allows us to see that Flavin did, however, devote a great deal of effort and care to all of his projects, even those that were never seen to completion.
Dan Flavin: Drawing is on view at the Morgan Library through July 1, 2012
Image provided courtesy of the Morgan Library, NYC