Friday, July 19, 2013


Poland's unique story of neon light in the Cold War era | Port Magazine - Part 1

The Light Fantastic

When neon was the new new thing.

 If you’ve flown through O’Hare on United you might have walked through the tunnel connecting Concourses B and C, with its abstract neon patterns on the ceiling that change in time with the music. I think of it as the “disco tunnel,” and it always makes me smile as I pull my case behind me under the glowing canopy. But it shows neon used as a purely decorative form, a long way from its high point as an advertising medium. Flickering Light, Christoph Ribbat’s intriguing history of neon, explores neon’s use in art, its value in advertising, and its cultural legacy.

In 1923, the first neon signs in Los Angeles belonged to Earle Anthony, who paid Claude $24,000 for twin orange-and-blue signs that read PACKARD to promote his auto dealership. They immediately caused traffic problems as people stopped to wonder at these illuminations, but within four years neon had become commonplace. It was on the East Coast that neon first came into its own. The 1930s were the high point for neon creations in New York City, many built by Artkraft Strauss, who also created the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. In 1933 real steam rose from the neon sign for A&P Coffee, and the cup released a coffee aroma to passers-by. Another showed an illuminated bottle of Bromo-Seltzer pouring into a glass. In 1941 the Camel sign arrived, showing a man blowing smoke rings (made of steam). The Camel man lasted for 24 years (although his face was repainted, making him a GI, a war pilot, or a civilian, at different times).

Volatile Light exhibition to dazzle at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery


A new immersive art installation at the Harris Museum is promising to delight families during the summer holidays.
Previous visitors to Volatile Light have described the exhibition as “a fabulous factory of fireflies” and “like being in a shower of tiny comets.”
The sound-scape is made up of a series of distorted noises from peculiar scientific experiments such as boiling mud triggered by the movement of the sculptures.
Stunning shapes are revealed in the Volatile Light

i Light to return to Marina Bay in March


SINGAPORE - i Light Marina Bay 2014, Asia's first and only sustainable light art festival, returns next year from March 7 to 30.
The theme for the third edition of the festival is "Light+HeART".
i Light Marina Bay 2014 aims to engage people through sustainable light art installations that are thought-provoking and inspiring yet 'light-hearted'.
The upcoming edition is therefore about creating unique, happy and heartfelt installations to delight the audience while bringing home the sustainability message.
Organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the festival will present up to 30 light art installations around Marina Bay.

James Turrell's Light Art Installation Opens in Las Vegas

 James Turrell might be an alien -- or at least knows something about the universe that the rest of us don't. He likes to say, "It's possible to gather light that's older than our solar system." And so, Turrell is finally having his well-deserved moment after 50 years of practicing his light-based art. Pick a city in the USA, and chances are there is a Turrell on display -- and in the past month, institutions in New York, Los Angeles and Houston, have opened up major surveys or retrospectives for the public to experience the totality of Turrell. The Guggenheim has unveiled its Aten Reign, the largest site-specific installation the museum has ever seen; LACMA has 11 original light works that nearly didn't get completed on time, and Houston is exhibiting 12 works from their permanent collection, seven of which have never been seen before.

james turrell

Artist investigated after shining Kim Dotcom “light art” on US Embassy


A German artist may now potentially face criminal charges in Germany after he projected a huge image onto the walls of the United States Embassy in Berlin last Sunday.
The image was of fellow German Kim Dotcom, the embattled founder of Megaupload, along with the phrase “United Stasi of America,” referring to the secret police of former East Germany. Oliver Bienkowski videoed the event and set the video to a song that Dotcom had previously recorded, entitled “Mr. President," which includes lines like: “What about free speech, Mr. President?”


TxDOT wants 40-foot 'Playboy Marfa' neon bunny sign stripped from West Texas road 


 Playboy's roadside art display along U.S. Highway 90, about a mile west of Marfa, features a neon-lit rendering of the magazine's bunny logo perched atop a post, along with a concrete platform displaying a stylized version of a 1972 Dodge Charger. 

MARFA — The Texas Department of Transportation says Playboy has 45 days to remove a neon-lit 40-foot-high sculpture of the magazine's iconic bunny logo from a West Texas road.

Preserving Colorado Springs' neon


Not so many years ago, Colorado Springs was a prime destination for a curious subcategory of visitors: neon connoisseurs. Quirky, exuberant and sculptural, mid-century neon signs brought life and color to our city's streets.
Colorado Avenue, in a different era. - PHOTOGRAPH BY MYRON WOOD, © PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, 002-2895.
Historic photos and postcards give some inkling of just how brassy, flamboyant and charmingly vulgar our city's transportation arteries were during the "liquid fire" age. Now-vanished signs illuminated motels, car dealers, pawnshops and downtown movie theaters.

(credit: Starlite Sign)

 Downtown is once again aglow with an old-skool icon — the Pegasus sign atop the Magnolia Hotel. It rivals the technicolor tableaux created nightly by one million LED lights at the Dallas Omni Hotel with its simplicity. Crews for the city and with Starlite Sign worked to complete routine maintenance on the Art Deco sign. They restored its neon lighting, which went out in the spring.