Tuesday, 24 August 2010

It doesn't get much better than this.....

The Neon Museum in Las Vegas is host to more than 150 of the cities old and iconic neon signs dating back as far as the 1930's. Established in 1996 the museum started with a sizable donation from the Young Elecric Sign Company (YESCO) who gave over their "bone yard" of old and retired signs.

The museum is currently undergoing a major refurbishment which will include a new visitors centre and will allow their fantastic collection the space it needs to be properly displayed.

The Neon Museum's mission is to collect, preserve, study and exhibit neon signs and associated artifacts to inspire educational and cultural enrichment.
Although the "Bone Yard" is currently closed while the refurbishment takes place it is still possible to arrange, by prior appointment, a visit to this fantastic collection before they reopen in 2011.

A superb selection of signs from the golden days of Las Vegas. Don't forget your camera.

Monday, 9 August 2010

The Neon Lights of Frankfurt.

The Lufthansa Aviation Centre located in the South West of Frankfurt lies on a thin strip between the motorway and Frankfurt Airport. Built as offices to house some 1800 staff, the building comprises eight, six storey glass office blocks positioned diagonally opposite to each other, with eight six storey atriums positioned diagonally opposite to them, in a checker pattern. In each of the eight giant atriums, gardens have been planted acting as both the lungs of the building and as noise barriers, allowing staff to open their office windows onto a quiet and tranquil space.

Designed by Architect Christoph Ingenhoven at Ingenhoven Architects, Dusseldorf this impossing structure of glass and steel also houses the works of seven well known artists. Michael Beutler, Thomas Demand, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Liam Gillick, Carsten Nicolai, Beat Streuli and Cerith Wyn Evans were all comissioned by Lufthansa to produce pieces reflecting both the building and the Lufthansa identity.
In 2006 I was contacted by Robert Smith at Aztec Modelmakers, Teddington, Middlesex to discuss the production of some neon tubes for a project that they were working on with the White Cube Gallery and the artist Cerith Wyn Evans. Robert came down to my workshop with Cerith's assistant and showed me thier 3D rendering of Cerith's design. The design itself was quite self explainitory, you're probably familiar with the inflight magazines found on most airplanes showing their flight destinations as large arcs across the globe; Cerith's idea was to reproduce all of Lufthansa'a flight paths around the globe in neon but remove the globe.
The whole sculpture was to have some 160 individual pieces of neon. 20mm Snow White tubes from Neon Products were used to allow an intense brightness combined with a degree of longevity. Aztec Modelmakers supplied full size templates for each individual section of glass allowing me to bend each neon tube to exactly the right length and diameter. Each of the neon tubes was powered by its own power supply provided by Mode Lighting. Tube lengths were kept to maximum of 6 foot with 120m/A elecrodes, allowing each power supply to produce 995 volts at 100m/A. Both tubing and electrodes were supplied by my favourite neon supplier Sign Tec Services in East Sussex. Each of the Mode power supplies was produced specially without it's casing, allowing Aztec to encase the units in beautiful, clear acrylic pods which hang suspended over the neon.
It was Aztec Modelmakers who were given the monumental job of designing the stainless steel structure which was to hold the neon tubes in place. With their considerable knowledge and understanding of engineering and metal work, Aztec produced a magnificent stainless steel frame following each of the lines of the neon and which itself is suspended from what might look to be the underside of a gigantic UFO. A work of art in itself, this huge structure caused some considerable problems as to how it was to be suspended within the glass atrium. Working closely with the architects and the engineers who constructed the building, this massive installation was eventually placed in pride of place giving motorway drivers a breif respite from thier daily grind.

You couldn't do that using LEDs.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Hot Rod Hayride 2010

Too late for this years event but put it in your diary for next year. A fantastic selection of Hotrods at this unique hotrod lifestyle event.

Here's a link to their excellent website site the Hot Rod  Hayride 2010 

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

light bulbs and neon

Major Contemporary Art Exhibition - Hope

If you're holidaying in France this summer then a trip to Dinard, in Brittany, has got to be on your itinery. Not only will you be able to enjoy their spectaclar rocky coastline, with it's beautiful bays and sandy beaches, you can also marvel at the major contempory art exhibition commisioned and run by the town of Dinard.

The exhibition Hope, is being held at Dinard's Palais des Arts et du Festival, from June 12th. - September 12th. 2010 and comprises 50 works from 50 artists from all over the world chosen by curator Ashok Adiceam.

This is an exceptional show with some fantastic works of art most importantly of all, the three neon pieces, Mona Hatoum's Hot Spot 2006, Jean-Michel Alberola's Esperance and Claude Leveque's Revez! 2008. Neon Neon were originally comissioned to produce and install the neon for Mona Hatoum's Hot Spot back in 2006 when it was shown at the White Cube's then new gallery at Mason's Yard, London SW1. Made from 8mm clear glass and filled with neon gas, "Hot Spot" comprises 48 individual neon sections all bent 3 dimensionally to fit the contousr of the stainless steel globe. All 48 sections run off 10 transformers producing 95,000 volts in total. On loan from the David Robert's Foundation.

Other notable pieces include Do Ho Suh's Cause and Effect, 2007, a fantastic whirlwind of small brightly coloured plastic figures, Damien Hirst's This be the verse Mount Zion, 2006, a beautiful Gibert and George'esque butterfly montague and Alberto Giacometti's graceful and elegant L'homme qui marche, 1981.

Have a look at the catalouge here, well worth a trip to Dinard.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Don't miss this...Neon Spectacular

Here's a fantastic neon show being put on by the City of West Hollywood in conjunction with MONA (Museum of Neon Art) as part of the Art on the Outside Project. With an opening ceremony on August 5th. from 7.30-9.30.  A guide to Vintage and Contempory outdoor neon on Historic Route 66 and the Sunset Strip would seem to be a must.

You can even download a tour map showing a route through West Hollywood with over 50 neon signs.

Can someone please go on my behalf and report back with some pictures.