Absolut Art is thrilled to present works by six international artists who use neon, a material that brings a distinctive zip and brightness to their works. You might associate neon with blinking signs in places like Times Square, or with old-timey motels with their “no vacancy” signs shining, but these artists elevate the medium to fine art status.
Neon first appeared in Paris in 1910, and rapidly spread as a material for advertising signage. Artists, as they always do, quickly exploited the possibilities of the new technological innovation, but they really picked it up and ran with it in the 1960s. Bruce Nauman is perhaps the artist most closely associated with early innovation with neon, creating a work that proclaims, perhaps ironically, that The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths (Window or Wall Sign), in 1967.
Later generations have used neon in equally varied ways, from Britain’s Tracey Emin expressing her inner thoughts in her own handwriting, spelling out notions like “I can feel your smile,” to African-American artist Glenn Ligon spelling out the words “negro sunshine” and painting the front of the neon black to study the oxymoron of a black illumination as a way to explore racial stereotype.
The six artists in Absolut Art’s neon collection continue to explore neon’s manifold expressive capabilities in that great tradition. Coming from as far apart as the US, the UK, Sweden, and Chile, these artists—Zoë Buckman, Jill Magid, Tiff Massey, Robert Montgomery, Iván Navarro, and David Stenbeck—use neon in radically different ways. Jill Magid exploits illumination ironically, in a work that deals with secrecy and reads, “Make me anonymous.” Tiff Massey, meanwhile, uses neon more in the way it was initially intended, to scream, with her work “Bitch don’t touch my hair!!” Robert Montgomery employs it in a completely different manner, spelling out a poem of his about how we keep our departed friends alive in our memories.
These artists have been graced with museum exhibitions around the globe and reams of favorable coverage in the press, and we are proud to offer their works at great prices, so that, in keeping with our mission, just about anyone can bring artworks by some of the world’s best artists into their home.
Each Artist from the collection has generously donated their artist fee, paid by Absolut Art, to The Equal Justice Initiative.