Signs of the Times - November 2013 - (Page 26)

LIGHTING TECHNIQUES By Marcus Thielen Marcus Thielen is a physicist and lighting-industry consultant from Duisburg, Germany. Stephen Antonakos Neon as art and architecture While thinkinglearned my Novabout ember subject, I that neon artist and architectural-neon pioneer Stephen Antonakos had died in New York at age 86. He’d pursued neon as art in architecture since the ’60s, so I’m dedicating this column to him. Antonakos was born November 1, 1926, in Agios Nikolaos, Greece, and he moved to New York in 1930. He began his artistic career in the early 1950’s with paintings and collages – but let the artist speak about himself: In an interview with Christian Schiess (see ST, February 1987, page 76), which was later reprinted in The Light Artist Anthology, Antonakos defined his evolution: “Throughout the ’50s, I was working with collage and found objects... In the late ’50s, I began to introduce light bulbs... In 1960, neon opened up an infinity of possibilities so that I stopped working with found objects.” His early neon objects were rather sculptural, but already, in 1970, simple, geometric shapes dominated his work. Inset, Stephen Antonakos. “Marie’s First Neon” (1965), Whitney Museum from Schiess, The Light Artist’s Anthology Antonakos mentioned (in the interview) “One thing I will never do myself is to repeat what has been done before with neon tubes.” His multiple uses of simple, often Above: “Blue Box off the Wall” (1970, left) and “Blue Inside Corner” (1971, right) Right: “Incomplete Neon Square” (1977), Documenta, Kassel/Germany from Schiess 26 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / NOVEMBER 2013 / incomplete, geometric shapes, such as angles and circles, distinguished his work. In the mid ’70s, Antonakos more and more incorporated the location (or more precisely, the building) where the piece was shown/exhibited into the work itself. Of course, Antonakos wasn’t, as happens with most important modern artists, universally acclaimed. Kenny Greenberg of Krypton Neon commented: “I think, to a degree, he was not taken so seriously over the past decade or so, as many viewed his work as just decorative. But I disagree with that viewpoint. I think he understood the concept of art as an environmental experience.” Antonakos underlined this himself in the Schiess interview: “I had to fight constantly against the trap of easy beauty; it’s so seductive.” And further: “You can only imagine up

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - November 2013

Signs of the Times - November 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review - Caldera Flow+ 2.0 software and its Version 9.20 RIP
Technology Review - KeyedIn™ Sign Edition software
New Products
Design Matters
Enter the ST Intl. Sign Contest!
Deep Thoughts
Temporary Vanity
LEDs: The Omnipresent Illuminators
Accessible Training
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - November 2013