Stephen Atonakas: Neon Chapel for P.S.1 and Welcome

February 7–April 3, 1999

On February 7, 1999, two new neon works by contemporary Minimalist sculptor Stephen Antonakos will illuminate P.S.1’s outdoor galleries with colored lights. Visitors to the museum will first see Welcome, a deep blue panel whose blue-and-red neon glow will emerge at dusk, on the stark concrete wall facing P.S.1’s main entrance. The second work, Chapel for P.S.1, will transform the large central enclosure in P.S.1’s outdoor gallery with two green-and-red neon arcs. Unlike the artist’s more serene indoor chapels, Chapel for P.S.1 opens dramatically to the sky. P.S.1 is honored to present these new site specific works in its award-winning outdoor gallery.

Stephen Antonakos is known for his large public sculptures as well as more intimate studio works. He has exhibited internationally since the 1960s and has been designing chapels since 1990. Most recently, his Chapel of the Heavenly Ladder was included in the 1997 Venice Biennale. Antonakos’ work relates not only to architecture but to space, as he says, “there is always an inside and an outside.” His vocabulary of open, incomplete geometric forms draws in everything around them, and in the case of Chapel for P.S.1, even the sky. Antonakos describes neon as “a controlled paradise.” He notes that Welcome extends his engagement with Greek Byzantine icons as a source and inspiration, while Chapel for P.S.1 radically reconfigures the Chapel concept.

Stephen Antonakos continues to live and work in New York.