Dan Flavin (1933 – 1996) studied for the priesthood for a brief period of time before enlisting in the United States Air Force. During military service in 1954–55, he studied art through the University of Maryland Extension Program in Korea. Upon his return to New York in 1956, he briefly attended the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts and studied art history at the New School for Social Research. In 1959, he took drawing and painting classes at Columbia University.
Major retrospectives of Flavin’s work have been organised by National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2004, which travelled to Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Hayward Gallery, London, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, through to 2007); Dia Foundation for the Arts (2004); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1992) among others. Flavin has participated in numerous group shows, including The Illusion of Light, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2014); Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Liverpool (2008) and more. Permanent installations of Flavin’s work can be seen in numerous museum collections throughout the world.