Art Switched on:
A Symposium on Dan Flavin

10am – 7.30pm, Saturday 25 February 2006
Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Courtauld Institute of Art
and Hayward Gallery


This one-day symposium, organised by the Hayward Gallery and the Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum, accompanies the major exhibition Dan Flavin: A Retrospective (Hayward Gallery, 19 January – 2 April 2006).

10.00 - 10.30am   


10.30am - Paper 1
David Batchelor
‘Awkward, blunt, interesting’: On Flavin’s “icons”
The eight works in the 1962-64 “icon” series are the last objects made by Dan Flavin before he began his signature work using only fluorescent lights. Marking the point at which paintings meet electric lights, Donald Judd described the “icons” as ‘awkward, blunt, interesting’. Batchelor considers some of the implications of these strange works for painting, colour and his own practice.

11am - Paper 2
Alex Coles
Dan Flavin and the Design Context of the Early 60s
Alex Coles sets out to address the relationship between Flavin's sculptural works and the architectural contexts in which they were sited, contextualizing his output in terms of the design culture of the early 1960s.

11.30am - Paper 3
Briony Fer
Flavin’s “little and least art”
Briony Fer considers the role of drawing in Flavin's work, arguing that through the practice of drawing Flavin maintained a dynamic between the hand-made and the ready-made. His drawing is considered as both the means to create and a form of resistance to the increasingly spectacular character of his installations.

12 noon - Questions

12.30 - 1.30pm       LUNCH BREAK


1.30pm - Paper 4
Paula Feldman
Flavin's European Barriers
In the latter half of the 1960s, Dan Flavin expanded his production with the development of his 'barriers', free-standing fluorescent light works that spanned a given space. These configurations were first realised in Europe, where Flavin's work met with critical and commercial success. Feldman examines this evolution in the context of large-scale institutional exhibitions during this period.

2.00pm - Paper 5
Steve Morse
From Concept to Light
Steve Morse talks about his role as Dan Flavin’s Studio Manager, discussing Flavin’s working process in the last years of his career. Morse looks at the development of Flavin’s concept of specific fluorescent lighting and the various means he employed for translating these proposals into material and spatial form. Recent examples of long-term and permanent installations will be presented in their own right, as well as in contrast to the notion of a temporary and adapting exhibition like the retrospective at the Hayward Gallery.

2.30pm - Questions

2.45 - 3.15pm           TEA BREAK IN SEMINAR ROOMS 1 AND 2

3.15pm - Paper 6
Tiffany Bell in conversation with Martin Caiger Smith
Tiffany Bell, co-curator of the Dan Flavin retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, joins the Hayward's Acting Director Martin Caiger-Smith to discuss the making of the exhibition and the newly published catalogue raisonné, as well as the challenges faced, and questions posed, by the presentation of Flavin's work.

3.45pm - Final Questions

SYMPOSIUM MOVES OVER TO THE HAYWARD GALLERY for opportunity to see Dan Flavin: A Retrospective (NB please ensure you keep your name badge to ensure free entry to the exhibition)



David Batchelor

David Batchelor is an artist and writer based in London, and a Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art, London. His three-dimensional works, photographs and drawings show a long-term interest in colour and urbanism. Recent exhibitions include Shiny Dirty at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2004), the 26th Bienal De Sao Paulo (2004) and Days Like These: Tate Britain Triennial of Contemporary Art (2003). Batchelor’s book on colour, Chromophobia (Reaktion Books, 2000), is now available in seven languages.

Tiffany Bell
Tiffany Bell has served as the project director of the Dan Flavin catalogue raisonné since 1998 and is co-curator of the retrospective at the Hayward Gallery. She gained a BA in art history from Princeton University and MA in art history from Columbia University. During the 1980s she was Dan Flavin’s curator and archivist. Bell is a freelance art critic and curator and has taught at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She has published articles on Lynda Benglis, Donald Judd, David Reed, Robert Ryman and many others. Her writings on Dan Flavin include ‘Dan Flavin, Posthumously’, published in Art in America in October 2000.

Martin Caiger Smith
Martin Caiger-Smith is Acting Director at the Hayward Gallery. He studied History of Art at Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute of Art. Over the last 14 years at the Hayward he has been responsible for a number of exhibitions, including René Magritte, Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana and Roy Lichtenstein.

Alex Coles
Alex Coles is the author of DesignArt (TATE Publishing, 2005) and the editor of DesignArt: The Reader (MIT Press/Whitechapel)

Paula Feldman
Paula Feldman completed her PhD on the reception and production of minimal art in the Netherlands at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2005. She is the co-editor, with Karsten Schubert, of It is What it Is: Writings on Dan Flavin Since 1964 (Thames & Hudson, 2004) and has written for the Burlington Magazine, Art Monthly and Contemporary.

Briony Fer
Briony Fer is Professor of History of Art at UCL and author of The Infinite Line: Re-making Art after Modernism (Yale University Press, 2004). She has written an essay on 'Flavin and Colour' in Dan Flavin (Haunch of Venison, forthcoming), and has contributed to the anthology of essays on Flavin being published by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Mark Godfrey
Mark Godfrey is a Lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art. A contributor to frieze, Artforum, and OCTOBER, he has recently written catalogue essays on Tacita Dean, Sharon Lockhart, Matthew Buckingham, and Fiona Tan, and is completing a book on abstraction and Holocaust memory for Yale University Press.

Steve Morse

Steve Morse is Director of the Dan Flavin Studio. He began managing Flavin's studio in 1991, starting mainly as a fabrication technician and general supervisor.  Steve developed a close working relationship with the artist, increasing his involvement in facilitating Flavin's process from initial site visits and development of the work to its final installation. He oversaw the fabrication and installation of Flavin's final works, including major commissions that were completed posthumously, such as the Chiesa Rossa in Milan and the lighting of the barracks at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

Karsten Schubert

Karsten Schubert opened his first gallery in 1987 and has since worked with numerous leading artists including Dan Flavin, Anya Gallaccio, Gary Hume, Michael Landy, Bridget Riley and Ed Ruscha. His written works include The Curator’s Egg, a book on the history of the museum, Dear Images:Art, Copyright and Culture (with Daniel McClean), Bridget Riley – Complete Prints and It Is What It Is: Writings on Dan Flavin since 1964 (with Paula Feldman). Schubert lives and works in London.