A flashy new exhibit has come to the Maison Rouge, displaying over 100 historical and never-before-seen neon pieces from the 1940s to today. The first neon tube was invented by physicist and chemist George Claude exactly 100 years ago. The tube was presented to the public at the World’s Fair in Paris and was patented in 1923. But it was not until the 1940s that the usage of this technology really took off.
Conceived by David Rosenberg, the exhibition Neon, Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? brings together work from 1940s neon pioneers like Gyula Kosice and Lucio Fontana, 1960s neon artists Bruce Nauman and Stephen Antonakos and current groundbreakers Alfredo Jaar and Sue Webster, just to name a few. The Maison Rouge is a foundation dedicated to all the different facets of contemporary creation. It is a space known by Parisian for its unique exhibitions as well as the originality of the exhibition space itself. Now, the glow of hundreds of neon tubes has come to inhabit this establishment dedicated to modernity.
An esthetic fantasy greets spectators as they walk through this collection. Bright fluorescent light magically guides the visitor through the exhibit. The most surprising thing about the exhibit is how versatile neon as a medium can be; artists have experimented with neon within the confines of such movements as Arte Povera — an Italian modern art movement, American minimalism, conceptual art and, of course, commercial design. Each piece uses color to challenge the spectator. Reds, green, blues, yellows and even whites interact, collide and create space in a way that delights the eye and tells a distinct story.
Visitors staying at one of the Grands Hotels Parisiens can explore this electric world until May 20, 2012 at the Maison Rouge located in the Bastille neighborhood.