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   Date: 9/4/13 Bookmark and Share

Neon Artist Stephen Antonakos Dies at 86

Stephen Antonakos, an artist renowned worldwide for his abstract, spatial work with neon from 1960 to the present, died on August 17 at the age of 86.

  Ruby and Yellow Neon (1967), by Stephen Antonakos

Antonakos’ art is well represented at Smith, by works on paper, an artist’s book, and most publicly, the neon installation, Once, Again (2001), on the ceiling of the Neilson Library exterior passageway between Seelye Lawn and Burton Lawn; as well as the neon sculpture Ruby and Yellow Neon (1967), and the neon panel Archangel Gabriel (1989).

The Smith College Museum of Art, which mounted an exhibition, Inner Light, of Antonakos’ works in 1997, and the Mortimer Rare Book Room have had long associations with the artist and his family. Antonakos’ daughter, mathematician Evangelia Antonakos, graduated from Smith in 1997.

Described as “essentially a classicist in the Constructivist tradition [who] has revealed the poetry of neon,” Antonakos created neon installations that function as large-scale drawings in light for prestigious institutions and architectural settings around the world.  He also produced a large and important corpus of drawings on vellum and paper that share the color-saturated, luminous palette of his neon works.


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