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Light Source & Letterforms: Neon Talk + Opening of "Neon Home" Art Show

The Tenderloin Museum is thrilled to host SF Neon for an evening of illuminating presentations by graphically inclined neon enthusiasts, plus the opening of a neon-centric art show in our gallery space. Neon Light Source & Letterforms will convene the burgeoning neon community in the Tenderloin, a hotbed of heritage glow and striking neon signage, as part of San Francisco Design Week 2018. Join us for an examination of some notable neon sign survivors and preservation projects in the Bay Area, as well as several expert views on neon’s persisting allure and design potential.  

From the flashing signs of tourist traps to the forgotten signs whose ghostly white tubes remain unlit, neon signs represent a bridge from past to the future. The technology of a neon sign has changed little since the first neon signs appeared in the early 1900s. Far from dispensable advertising, a neon can last for decades and is more energy efficient than one might think, but more importantly, a neon’s appeal extends far beyond its luminous utility. Our featured presenters will investigate the power of neon’s unique visual aesthetic.

Local photographers and SF Neon co-founders Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna will explore the emotional affect of neon light in advertising, art, and as a light source. Typography guru Shelley Gruendler will discuss the history of letterforms, their translation into neon, and the nuance of switched-on graphic communication.

Neon Light Source & Letterforms will also mark the opening of Neon Home, a group art exhibition of neon-centric work in the Tenderloin Museum’s gallery. The show will feature photographs of historic neon signs in the Tenderloin and around the Bay by photographers Mark Carrodus, Merideth Grierson, Randall Ann Homan, and Al Barna. Additionally, we will unveil a new neon sign-sculpture called “Home/Hotel,” a collaboration between SF Neon and the Oakland based tube bender and neon artist Shawna Peterson. Come early for a reception in the lobby featuring vintage neon sign sample books and suitcase tube displays from the collection of neon historians Dydia DeLyser and Paul Greenstein.

The Tenderloin Museum is proud to be a home for neon preservation in the Bay Area. Celebrate our rich local tradition of neon signage and tap into the growing national movement to make our future landscape brighter by saving and restoring vintage neon signs.

Neon Home will be on display in the Tenderloin Museum gallery through August 12, 2018.

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