Mystic Neon Tubes (and Other Aesthetic Delights)

This neon sign by American artist Bruce Nauman (found at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) was featured in a previous post on this blog. Nauman’s work, titled: The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths treads a thin line between the metaphorical and the literal.

The artwork, created in 1967, helped jump-start Nauman’s career as he gave new meaning to a medium often associated with the “lower realms” of society: cheap motels, for example, and bars. Following are a few new takes on the same piece:


Nauman’s neon beckons from a gallery far beyond.


Nauman’s neon glows eerily in an otherwise darkened room.


Nauman’s neon sign as viewed through a doorway.
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And now, without further ado, we’ll move along to other sections of the museum . . .

A smiling bronze Buddha for sale in the museum store.


A banner above the rear entrance advertises Philadelphia photographer Zoe Strauss’s exhibition, “Ten Years,” on display at the museum through April 22nd, 2012.


Marc Chagall’s grand work, A Wheatfield on a Summer’s Afternoon (tempera on fabric) was one of four backdrops commissioned by the Ballet Theatre of New York (now the American Ballet Theatre) in 1942, to be used in a performance called Aleko.


A Wheatfield on a Summer’s Afternoon, detail.


A miniature cast of Rodin’s The Thinker perhaps contemplating The Crucifixion (as painted by American artist Thomas Eakins).


Doorway to the artists’ office in the installation Megawords, a satellite of the Zoe Strauss Photography Exhibition on display through April.


Here, the lone word “every” is emblazoned between the white markings of a crosswalk near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I wonder how it got there, and what it might mean.

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