Daniel Flavin was born in Jamaica, New York, in 1933. He studied for the priesthood for a brief period of time before enlisting in the United States Air Force. During military service in 1954–55, Flavin studied art through the University of Maryland Extension Program in Korea. In 1959, he took drawing and painting classes at Columbia University; that year, he began to make assemblages and collages in addition to paintings that pointed to his early interest in Abstract Expressionism. Major retrospectives of Flavin’s work have been organized by the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa (1969), St. Louis Art Museum (1973), Kunsthalle Basel (1975), and Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (1989). He also executed many commissions for public work, including the lighting of several tracks at Grand Central Station in New York in 1976. Flavin died on November 29, 1996, in Riverhead, New York. Both the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin in 1999 and the Dia Foundation for the Arts in 2004 mounted major posthumous retrospectives of the artist’s work.