Eve (after Michelangelo), installation view from studio open house;
A Matter ofPerspective no.002, neon glass tubing, copper tie wire,
steel (cabinet), automotive paint (cabinet), 24 x 18 x 16 inches
NEON MUSEUM ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE WHITNEY LYNN’S WORK
EXPLORES “GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS” AND “A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE”
In June, the Neon Museum hosted its first-ever National Artist Residency in Las Vegas, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. San Francisco-based artist Whitney Lynn was selected from among 20 entrants to reside in downtown Las Vegas from June 1 – 30, 2016. On Thursday, June 30, she unveiled two distinctive bodies of work: Girls, Girls, Girls and A Matter of Perspective. Both were created during her residency and unveiled at a studio open house.
About her work, Lynn writes:
One of the most striking aspects of the Neon Museum’s collection is it reminds the visitor a reading of an object or an image is not fixed; rather, interpretation depends upon context. Signs designed to function as advertising transform into public art; marquees designed to loom overhead are now inspected at ground level.
Girls, Girls, Girls is a series of large-scale drawings that rework Old Master and Post-Impressionist paintings of temptresses into proposals for neon signs. Inspired stylistically by the twinkling glow of downtown Las Vegas’ Hacienda Horse and Rider, Vegas Vic and Sassy Sally, as well as the mustachioed Pabst Blue Ribbon man, works by artists such as Michelangelo and Cezanne are transformed into crude characters using the language of neon. By appropriating these biblical stories—which have long been used to police women’s sexuality, social standing and power—these reinterpretations force a reconsideration of the original narrative.
Related in its intention to interrogate an individual’s interpretation of an image, A Matter of Perspective is a series of drawing proposals for signs—as well as realized signs—that explore perspective in the relationship to visual perception. Comprising visual illusions, impossible objects and one philosophical idiom, the depicted objects seem to change properties depending upon how they are viewed.
Of the work created during the residency, Lynn’s piece, A Matter of Perspective, no. 002, remains at the Neon Museum as part of its permanent collection.
“We created the Neon Museum National Artist in Residence program as a way to introduce new perspectives and fresh opportunities for collaboration to the museum and the Las Vegas community,” said Rob McCoy, chief executive officer, Neon Museum. “Whitney’s thoughtful and challenging work builds upon existing discourse about our collection, while simultaneously advancing new ideas about interpretation.”
For more information about the Neon Museum’s National Artist in Residence, go to www.neonmuseum.org/happenings or call (702) 387-6366.
About Whitney Lynn
Whitney Lynn is a visual artist who mines cultural and political histories to question ideas of boundaries and containment, history and restaging, context and form. Through sculpture, photography, video, performance, drawing and interventions, her work often involves aspects of collaboration and encourages both direct and indirect social engagement. Lynn is scheduled to be an artist-in-residence at the de Young Museum in 2017 and recent solo exhibitions and projects include Sirens, Auxiliary Projects, New York (2016); Searching for Diogenes, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2014); Act (Alteración), SFMOMA, San Francisco (2012); and Involuntary Sculptures, Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco (2012). Born on Williams Air Force Base, Lynn earned her BFA in sculpture + Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University and MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute. She currently teaches at Stanford University and leads the interdisciplinary Honors in the Arts program.
ABOUT THE NEON MUSEUM
Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. It has been named “Best Museum” by Las Vegas Weekly, one of “Sin City’s Best Retro Sites” by MSN, “No. 1 Las Vegas Museum Sure to Entertain and Educate” by USAToday’s 10best.com, “One of the Top 10 Coolest Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do” by Forbes.com, one of the “Top 10 Historic Spots in Las Vegas” by Vegas.com; one of “15 Most Fascinating Museums in the U.S.” by VacationIdea.com; and earns a consistent 4.5 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor. In addition to an approximately two-acre Neon Museum campus, which includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, the museum also encompasses a visitors’ center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby as well as nine restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas. Public education, outreach, research, archival preservation and a grant-funded neon sign survey represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. Both the Neon Boneyard and the La Concha Visitors’ Center are located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.NeonMuseum.org.