Stephen Antonakos, 1926-2013

SA on scaffolding with art_sm

Stephen Antonakos working on Neons for Pershing Square in 1991.

With great sadness, Metro Art shares the news of the passing of artist Stephen Antonakos.  Antonakos’ 1991 installation Neons for Pershing Square at the Pershing Square Metro Rail Station commemorates the neon sign as an art form. His work pays homage to the first neon sign in the United States, which was posted in 1924 around the corner from the station, and is on view for all to enjoy.

As Margalit Fox wrote in the New York Times in an obituary for Antonakos, “His medium was light; his materials included glass, an electrical charge and Element No. 10 on the periodic table. The result was a series of abstract sculptures that illuminated indoor and outdoor spaces in cities around the globe, instantly recognizable for their vibrant colors and sinuous lines. ..Half a century ago, he became one of the first people to usher neon out of the world of HOT L and into the realm of fine art…His work, which encompasses public-art installations and pieces in the collections of the world’s foremost museums, is leagues apart from the commercial signage that until the late 20th century was neon’s fundamental expression.”

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Neons for Pershing Square by Stephen Antonakos at Pershing Square Station.