From February 17th 2012, la maison rouge will stage the first major international exhibition of neon art from the 1940s to the present day. Some one hundred works will be presented in all, many of historical significance, many being shown for the first time. They will include pieces by such pioneers as Lucio Fontana from the early 1950s, François Morellet, Bruce Nauman, Stephen Antonakos, Joseph Kosuth and Mario Merz from the 1960s, and some of the many contemporary artists working in this medium, such as Jason Rhoades, Sylvie Fleury and Claude Lévêque.
On the right-hand side of Mendeleev’s periodic table are the so-called ‘noble’ gases, a group of chemical elements with common properties: under standard conditions, they are all odorless and colorless, but under pressure these mono-atomic gases produce a coloured light when an
electric current is passed through them. Neon (Ne), from neos, the Greek word for new, emits ared light. Argon (Ar) produces a blue light, while the light from sodium vapor is yellow.
French physicist and chemist Georges Claude developed the first neon tube in 1912, exactly one century ago. He unveiled his invention publicly at the Paris World Fair. A few years later, Claude filed a patent in the United States and, in 1923, sold his first two neon signs – reading ‘Packard’ – to a car dealership. The rest is history…
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