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Dan Flavin

THE DEATH OF Daniel Nicholas Flavin, Jr., on November 29, 1996, sent my memory rushing back to the early ’60s, now a mythic moment in the history of art. Born on April 1, 1933, Flavin was part of my own generation, for which the complementary austerities of an iconic soup can and a perfect rectangle appeared to launch a visual order in which industrial uniformity and pure cerebration would be the reigning muses. Worshiping early at New York’s shrines of Modern art (he once worked as a guard at the Museum of Modern Art, and attended Meyer Schapiro’s lectures at Columbia), by 1963 Flavin had become a pillar of the fiercely intelligent young art establishment whose spirit was nurtured monthly by the then year-old Artforum. I can’t remember exactly how or when we first met, but it must have been somewhere in those rigorous precincts where the likes of Carl Andre, Frank Stella, and Barbara Rose

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