Findings

The Long Friendship of Ward Jackson and Dan Flavin

Dan Flavin, untitled (to Ward Jackson, an old friend and colleague who, during the Fall of 1957 when I finally returned to New York from Washington and joined him to work together in this museum, kindly communicated), 1971

Dan Flavin, untitled (to Ward Jackson, an old friend and colleague who, during the Fall of 1957 when I finally returned to New York from Washington and joined him to work together in this museum, kindly communicated), 1971. Daylight, pink, yellow, green, and blue fluorescent light, 2- and 8-ft fixtures. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Partial gift of the artist in honor of Ward Jackson 72.1985 © 2014 Stephen Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Installation view: Guggenheim International Exhibition, 1971, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, February 12–April 11, 1971. Exhibition records. A0003. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives. New York, NY

Organizational chart, 1959

Organizational chart, 1959. James Johnson Sweeney records. A0001. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives. New York, NY

Sketch of untitled (to Ward Jackson, an old friend and colleague who, during the Fall of 1957 when I finally returned to New York from Washington and joined him to work together in this museum, kindly communicated)

Guggenheim International Exhibition, 1971. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. (1971). Sketch of untitled (to Ward Jackson, an old friend and colleague who, during the Fall of 1957 when I finally returned to New York from Washington and joined him to work together in this museum, kindly communicated). NB198.5.M5 S6

Ward Jackson was the first archivist of the Guggenheim Museum Archives when it was formally established in 1973. A trained painter, Ward started at the Guggenheim Museum in 1955 and held numerous positions until his retirement in 1994. According to the organizational chart at right, found in the James Johnson Sweeney records, Jackson worked in the mailroom with “Mr. Flavin” in 1959.

Dan Flavin and Ward Jackson may have become friends while working in the mailroom, but their friendship lasted longer than their tenure together at the museum. In the 1971 Guggenheim International Exhibition, Flavin installed colored florescent tubing along the walls of a ramp, titled untitled (to Ward Jackson, an old friend and colleague who, during the Fall of 1957 when I finally returned to New York from Washington and joined him to work together in this museum, kindly communicated). The installation was expanded and installed along with untitled (to Tracy, to celebrate the love of a lifetime) in the Guggenheim Museum in the summer of 1992, turning the rotunda into a glowing circus of light and color.

  • becker

    a moment of truth and love, uttered, then expressed, unabashedly committed with hammer and nail, a glowing pathway remains for eternity to guide those as once was walked so many nights previously. would love to view in person some day.

  • reductive

    Great post about the relationship between artists Ward Jackson + Dan Flavin! Ward Jackson’s exhibition of black and white paintings and drawings from the 1960s opens at MINUS SPACE in Dumbo, Brooklyn on September 12. http://www.minusspace.com