The Museum of Neon Art (MONA; Glendale, CA) will host the Neon Curiosity Lounge on Sept. 17, 1-4 p.m. PDT. “This indoor/outdoor event invites participants to ignite their curiosity through special demonstrations, mesmerizing artworks, and up-close looks at rare ephemera and tools,” according to a release from MONA.
The one-day-only event is organized as a part of Neon Speaks, a community festival and symposium that brings together neon experts and practitioners across the globe. Part art exhibit, part maker convention, visitors will be able to interact with neon experts and their exhibits, marvel at demonstrations, view the museum’s gallery of vintage signs, enjoy refreshments, and socialize over complementary pie in the outdoor Sign Garden — per the release.
MONA will also host the Neon Cruise, a special themed bus tour of neon signage on the following day, Sunday, September 18.
“We are thrilled to partner with Neon Speaks for our first in-person collaboration together in over three years,” MONA Executive Director Corrie Siegel is quoted in the release. “For the past two years MONA and Neon Speaks have built a community across the world through digital programming; however, bringing people and objects together in one space will be an electric experience. We are assembling some of the world’s preeminent neon scholars, to build a new sense of community with experts and novices alike.”
Neon Curiosity Lounge Exhibitors
Bill Concannon has been working with neon since 1973, and has been creating set neon and visual effects neon for the motion picture industry since 1976. Bill has exhibited his neon works nationally and internationally, and has taught glass bending classes at the Pilchuck Glass School, the Academy of Art, and MONA.
Dydia DeLyser and Paul Greenstein are authors of Neon: A Light History, a Neon Speaks book published by Giant Orange Press, available at historyofneon.org. Their collaborative research has revealed that the widely mythologized Earle C. Anthony “Packard” sign in downtown Los Angeles was not the first neon sign in the US. And their book reveals how neon signs have helped shape American communities. Dydia is a historical geographer at Cal State Fullerton and Board member of MONA; Paul has designed, fabricated, installed and restored neon signs in Los Angeles for over 40 years.
Will Durham is a Reno native and preservationist of vintage neon signs throughout Nevada and beyond. An exhibition of neon signs from his collection appeared at the Nevada Museum of Art. Will is the founder of the Nevada Neon Project, and spearheaded a successful legislative campaign to make neon the “official element of the State of Nevada.” He has plans to open a neon sign museum to exhibit his historic sign collection for the public.
Michael Flechtner learned how to bend neon in 1985 after getting a BFA and MFA in sculpture and painting. He moved to LA in 1986 and has created neon art ever since. Michael designed the neon Celebrate Forever Stamp for the USPS in 2011. He has given neon workshops in Europe and the US. Michael’s work has been in numerous art exhibitions and is in numerous art collections.
Robert Haus has been involved in neon and high voltage projects for many years and utilizes vintage items in some of his artwork, leading to the collection, restoration, and documentation of vintage neon sign production tools and related artifacts. Haus is active in teaching others about the medium and its technical history.
Roxy Rose is a contemporary artist, transgender activist, and skilled craftsperson who honed the art of neon glass blowing over the last 42 years. Recognized internationally for her craft and artistry, Roxy comes from a long line of neon benders who passed down the craft to her.
Chris Raley (owner of art studio Route 9 Signs) is a miniaturist specializing in small-scale neon sign recreations, based in Fresno, CA. He specializes in recreating iconic and historic signs from all around the world. His process starts with a photograph to estimate the sign’s dimensions, then he creates major shapes with a 3D printer. The final touches are all handcrafted by Chris.
Stuart Ziff is a neon artist who worked in visual effects for the film industry for 20 years. He received a BS in engineering from UCLA and an MFA in sculpture from Cal Arts where he taught himself laboratory glassblowing and neon technology. He ran the Ghost Shop for the original Ghostbusters movie and worked at Industrial Light & Magic on Star Wars. He received a technical achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Timed tickets to the Neon Curiosity Lounge on Sept. 17 are available at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $20 for MONA Members. To purchase tickets, click here.
Tickets include admission to MONA, bending and technical demonstrations, a pop-up miniature sign exhibition, and refreshments in the outdoor Sign Garden. Due to time and capacity concerns tickets are limited to one hour time slots.
To purchase tickets for a special Neon Cruise bus tour on Sept. 18, click here.
For more information, visit neonmona.org.
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