SF Essex Hotel 03.JPG

Neon Home: Group Show ft. photographs & neon sculpture

Exhibition Run: June 12 - August 12, 2018

Neon Home is a group art exhibition of neon-centric work featuring photographs of historic neon signs in the Tenderloin and around the Bay by photographers Mark Carrodus, Merideth Grierson, Randall Ann Homan, and Al Barna. The show gets its name from its centerpiece: a glowing neon sign-sculpture called “Home/Hotel,” a collaboration between SF Neon and Oakland based tube bender and neon artist Shawna Peterson. 

Al Barna & Randall Homan, founders of SF Neon/Historic Neon Network, discuss this Exhibition:

"The hotels of the Tenderloin are home to a remarkable concentration of neon signs. Neon began to fall out of favor in the late 1950s. There was a nation-wide trend to replace neon signs with “modern upgrades” like back-lit plastic. The Tenderloin didn’t buy into this trend. The neighborhood boasts dozens of vintage hotel signs that are both beautiful and tenacious, clinging to corners and doorways while so many neon signs throughout San Francisco disappeared without a trace.  These same hotels are home to citizens of the Tenderloin as well as many small and family-owned businesses. The Tenderloin Museum is home to the history, art, and culture of its namesake. It is also home to historic neon restoration projects and a sponsor of San Francisco Neon/Historic Neon Network. We are lucky to have such a welcoming home. 

The neon signs in this exhibit were selected because they give our city a distinctive, ambient light and become our visual landmarks. Whenever we returned to the city and saw these signs, we knew that we were home.

Many of the neon signs in San Francisco have graced the city streets for five, six, even seven decades. These signs have survived as neighborhood beacons in spite of unfavorable building and zoning codes, the introduction of less expensive sign materials, city beautiful campaigns, and changing tastes in advertising trends.

In spite of these considerable obstacles, these signs have become neighborhood anchors and icons. These signs are hand-made works of art, not throw-away advertising. They inform our sense of familiarity with the city’s streets and neighborhoods. They provide us with a sense of belonging to communities and neighborhoods that share collective experiences."