PURCHASE, NY—Neon gets its due as a medium for art in two exhibitions opening at the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College in Westchester, NY. Opening are "Stephen Antonakos: Proscenium" and "Bending Light: Neon Art 1965 to Now." Both exhibitions are on view from January 28 to June 24, 2018. 

"Bending Light: Neon Art 1965 to Now"

"Bending Light: Neon Art 1965 to Now" presents the work of 12 artists who explore neon as material as well as their close collaboration with skilled glass-benders. The exhibition considers the line between commercial and fine art as well as examines the interplay among light, chemistry and artistic vision as artists experimented with the form.

Curated by Avis Larson, Assistant Curator, the exhibition presents art by Stephen Antonakos, Sarah Blood, Chryssa, Agnes Denes, Tracey Emin, Cerith Wyn Evans, Glenn Ligon, Kadir López, Ivan Navarro, Paul Seide, Keith Sonnier and Rudi Stern.

Rounding out the show are works fabricated by the studios of Let There Be Neon (New York), Lite Brite Neon (Brooklyn) and Spectrum on Broadway (Queens).


"3D Neon Chair" by Rudi Stern, circa 1978. Designed by Rudi Stern and Let There Be Neon artists. Neon, 36 x 15 x 15 inches. Courtesy of Let There Be Neon, New York.


Starting in the 1960s, artists and fabricators began experimenting with neon's traditional use for advertising vehicle to transform into an art form. "Bending Light: Neon Art 1965 to Now" demonstrates the ways artists expanded the concepts of language and message, light and line, technology, and the ethereal materiality of the trapped gas in their work. 

Exhibited art was selected from the museum's permanent collection and feature art loaned from public and private collections. The show includes Chryssa's Ampersand V, 1965, Keith Sonnier's Chila, 2016, Tracey Emin’s The Kiss Was Beautiful, 2013, and Glenn Ligon’s Warm Broad Glow (2005).

"Stephen Antonakos: Proscenium"

"Stephen Antonakos: Proscenium" features a monumental, site-specific work that was originally created in 2000 for the Neuberger Museum’s Theater Gallery. Named for a type of Greek stage, Proscenium wraps and brilliantly illuminates the gallery's perimeter walls and animates the darkened space with vibrant color, glowing light, and calligraphic line.

Of his work with neon, Antonakos has said, “For me, neon is not aggressive but it has certain powers. I simply thought so much more could be done with it abstractly than with words and images. I had a feeling it could connect with people in real, immediate, kinetic and spatial ways,” according to the museum.


"Proscenium" by Stephen Antonakos, 2000. Neon and painted raceways, overall 20 feet 6 inches x 189 feet. Collection of the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY. Photo: Jim Frank.


Both exhibitions will be on view from January 28 to June 24, 2018. An Opening Reception will take place on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Another exhibition event highlight takes place on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. "In Conversation: NEON" presents a discussion with Thomas Rinaldi, author of New York Neon; Jeff Friedman, owner of Let There Be Neon studio, and Sarah Blood, contemporary mixed-media artist. Moderating the talk is Avis Larson, Assistant Curator of the museum. Free for museum members and students and $5 for non-members. RSVP by emailing nma.rsvp@purchase.edu.


BASIC FACTS: The Neuberger Museum of Art is located on the campus of Purchase College, SUNY, at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577. The museum is the 10th largest university museum in the United States. It is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 or $3 for students and seniors. www.neuberger.org.


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