Curator‘s Comments

Stephen Antonakos, a pioneer and master of the medium of neon, has been described as “essentially a classicist in the Constructivist tradition [who] has revealed the poetry of neon.” His work is at once spare and elegant. It comments on space and architecture, and is equally at home installed in galleries or occupying building facades, towers, and other built environments. His neon works function as large-scale drawings in light and color. Ruby and Yellow Neon is an important early sculpture created for one of a series of exhibitions in the 1960s titled Antonakos: Neon Sculpture at the Fischbach Gallery in New York. Using a timer, the neon tubes light in sequence, creating a changing palette of colored lines and cast light. Its Formica-on-wood base was custom-made by artist Richard Artschwager.
Antonakos is also represented at Smith College by works on paper, an artist’s book, a neon panel, and the outdoor neon installation Once, Again on the ceiling of Neilson Library passageway.

Stephen Antonakos. American, born Greece, 1926

Ruby and Yellow Neon, 1967

Glass tubes, neon, metal box and electrical components, on custom-made base