If you share our passion for Neon Creations and want to know where you can find neon art and exhibitions across the world, then you’re in the right place. This is your ultimate guide to take you around the neon world in 2016!
You don’t have to go far to find neon lights, and there are plenty of places here in the United Kingdom that you can go to get your neon fix. You can find our very own Neon Creations on the High Street, in your office (if you’re as lucky as the guys over at Missguided), and in a few bars and restaurants.
But if you’re looking for something a bit different, head down to the Lights of Soho exhibition in London. Their God’s Own Junk Yard exhibition sadly comes to an end on the 23rd January so you’ll have to be quick to catch that one, but they have a number of other neon exhibitions on that are open to the public from 11 am – 6 pm everyday, and exclusive members-only events in the evening.
You may remember a little write up we did on The Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas, we’re not going to lie – we very nearly jumped on a plane following the research to go and see the bright lights of the strip and an opportunity to reminisce about a neon era gone by at this fantastic museum. Alas, we’re too busy at the moment, but we’re hoping to head state-side in 2016. This museum houses over 200 neon signs, the oldest of which is over 80 years old, the Green Shack sign from the 1930’s – advertising chicken, steak and cocktails. The Neon Boneyard celebrates their 20th birthday this year so it’s definitely a good time to head over for a visit.
And whilst you’re in America, stay on the West Coast and head across to California to the MONA (Museum of Neon Art), founded in 1981 in downtown Los Angeles, by artists Lili Lakich and Richard Jenkins. Their intent was to create awareness for historic neon sign preservation and to showcase this electrifying contemporary art form.
The Brown Derby sign is an integral part of MONA’s collection in California, it came from the Hollywood and Vine location of the restaurant, opened on Valentine’s Day. The restaurant was closed in 1985 with the sign then going through two private collections before being donated to the MONA.
Another iconic neon sign in their collection is this recreation of the Neon Diver from the Virginia Rooftop Court Motel was made for MONA’s rooftop and the original from circa 1950s, re-created sign 2014. The museum encourages learning, curiosity and expression through preservation, collection and interpretation of neon, electric and kinetic art with an exhibition of historic neon signs spanning over three decades; at their new location in Glendale is a classroom created to enable visitors to watch skilled neon craftspeople, and to get in involved in learning this craft.
You can even join MONA for a Neon Cruise, which involves a night-time bus tour of neon signs, movie marquees and permanent installations of contemporary neon art through Downtown LA and Hollywood. This narrated tour is three hours, and although it’s into its 17th year it gets booked up extremely fast, so be sure to book your spot to see outstanding examples of contemporary neon art as well as innovative electrical advertising.
Make sure you don’t miss out on the neon the East Coast has to offer too, Len Davidson has been restoring and displaying vintage neon pieces since 1976, following his display at the Centre for Architecture (which has unfortunately come to an end now), they are looking for a new home to be able to showcase these fantastic pieces around the neon world, but in the meantime Len is conducting talks, and walking tours throughout the year.
Sticking to the East, but heading up North a bit and into Canada, the Museum of Vancouver is home to a permanent exhibition entitled Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver, offering visitors a glimpse of Vancouver’s big city lights of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, the signs are accompanied by the tale of how the city went through a war of aesthetics that resulted in a transition of the very way Vancouver imagines itself.
Some thought the signs signalled glamour, excitement and big city living, whilst others were under the impression that they disfigured the city’s natural beauty. This resulted in a deep civic controversy, and this is explored in the exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver.
Fly, drive or swim back this way and head into Europe for a glimpse at a different type of neon from eras gone by. In Poland, the Neon Muzeum is an independent museum that has become a national treasure. It is dedicated to the documentation and preservation of Poland’s Cold War-era neon signs. It is permanently based in Soho Factory, Praga – the creative heart of Warsaw.
At Neon Creations, we understand that the word neon often conjures up negative connotations in a person mind, whether it’s those dodgy areas of town or party destinations; but we know that there is a whole other side to neon that makes it an art form, something that should be preserved to be admired for years to come.
We hope this guide has inspired you to explore neon art exhibitions from eras gone by around the neon world, it certainly has for us!