In Art and Life, Neon Makes a Comeback

Neon is making a comeback.

Or, as The Guardian puts it, “Neon is up in lights, again.”

Once synonymous with gritty, low-brow places like Las Vegas, neon lights are having something of a cultural moment in television, film, the arts — and daily life.

“The gaseous element whose glamorous glow has been appropriated by one artist after another since the 1960s is now crossing from contemporary art into every cultural field going. It pulses in the National Theatre’s hit Angels in America, shines ethereally white in the artwork for Arcade Fire’s Everything Now and gleams a sleazy violet in ads for Netflix’s wrestling comedy Glow.”

Andy Warhol called neon one of “the great modern things” – something that can exist only in the modern world.

“Neon (Ne), the element, was discovered in 1898, on the eve of modernity,” The Guardian notes. “Artists did not invent its seduction and if they can use it, so can anyone. The more neon, the better the modern world will look. No wonder so many people are turning on the red (or white, blue, green, yellow or violet) light.”


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