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Neuberger Museum of Art Shines a Light on Neon in Art

"Proscenium" by Stephen Antonakos
"Proscenium" by Stephen Antonakos

No longer is neon only used for store signs and brand names. The commercial use of neon lights in the urban American landscape has now also been transformed into a medium by which contemporary fine artists can articulate their viewpoints. Neuberger Museum of Art (NMA) explores this art form in two new exhibitions, simultaneously on view through June 24. Stephen Antonakos: Proscenium is a monumental site-specific work that was created for NMA in 2000. The 20-by-189-foot installation once again illuminates the perimeter of the Museum’s Theater Gallery with vibrant colors that play with space and form. Antonakos once said of the piece that he experimented with “connect[ing] people in real, immediate, kinetic and spatial ways.” Bending Light: Neon Art 1965 to Now presents twelve artists who are using neon in their works, including Chryssa, Keith Sonnier, Tracey Emin and Glenn Ligon. From 1960s artists who experimented with traditional techniques in new ways, to present day abstractions, the exhibition focuses on the blurred line between commercial and fine art. It also shines a light on the benders who helped to transform neon between these two categories. On the evening of February 14, an opening reception will take place for both exhibitions, in addition to another show, From Motherwell to Hofmann: The Samuel Kootz Gallery. On February 28, a discussion about the neon art form, “In Conversation: NEON,” will be moderated by Avis Larson, Assistant Curator at NMA. This event will include guests Thomas Rinaldi, author of New York Neon, Jeff Friedman, owner of Let There Be Neon studio and Sarah Blood, contemporary mixed-media artist. For more info, visit neuberger.org.

version of this article first appeared in the February issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews

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