New York, 1926 - 2013

Stephen Antonakos

Stephen Antonakos grew up in Laconia, Greece and migrated to New York at the age of four where he lived in Bayridge, Brooklyn. After high school, Antonakos served in the war for two years and later attended The New York State Institute for Applied Arts and Sciences where he studied commercial illustration. In the 50s and early 60s, Antonakos began his career by utilizing vellum, pillows, pipes, cloth, and found objects as a means of producing sculptures and drawings. Unsatisfied with his works, Antonakos roamed the streets of New York City where he found his calling in the bright lights of Times Square. Inspired by neon, Antonakos focused on lighted glass as his primary medium and manipulated it into various geometric forms and structures. His complete and incomplete neon shapes...

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Biography

Stephen Antonakos grew up in Laconia, Greece and migrated to New York at the age of four where he lived in Bayridge, Brooklyn. After high school, Antonakos served in the war for two years and later attended The New York State Institute for Applied Arts and Sciences where he studied commercial illustration. In the 50s and early 60s, Antonakos began his career by utilizing vellum, pillows, pipes, cloth, and found objects as a means of producing sculptures and drawings. Unsatisfied with his works, Antonakos roamed the streets of New York City where he found his calling in the bright lights of Times Square. Inspired by neon, Antonakos focused on lighted glass as his primary medium and manipulated it into various geometric forms and structures. His complete and incomplete neon shapes ranged from painted canvases and sculptures to indoor and outdoor installations. Antonakos believed light, scale and proportion were essential properties in providing a direct and real experience for the viewer in relation to space. He commonly referred to his art as “real things in real space,” referring to an immediate visual moment created through pure abstract linearity and spatial color. Along with Dan Flavin and Bruce Nauman, Antonakos was a pioneer in transitioning commercial lighting into fine art. Yet unlike his contemporaries, Antonakos utilized light in an architectural and structural way to create spiritual effects. For instance, a number of his works invovle neon lights hidden behind painted canvases of silver or gold, referring to the glowing halos of Saints in Byzantine iconography. Antonakos’s works commonly reference his Greek upbringing and are motifs in his light art as well as sculptural works, such as the Chapel Rooms. Starting in the 1970s, Antonakos would have installed over 55 permanent public installations in the US, Europe, Israel, and Japan. Other major practices including reliefs, prints and performance art involving Robert Ryman, Sol Lewitt, and Christo were continued until the end of his life in 2013.

Artworks

8

Untitled Drawing, #6, January 17, 2001

Related Categories

20th Century Art / 21st Century Art / Abstract Painting / Abstraction / American Art / Art of the 1950s / Art of the 1960s / Art of the 1970s / Art of the 1980s / Art of the 1990s / Art of the 2000s / Assemblage / Collage / Color and Form / Color Pencil / Color Pencil on Paper / Contemporary American Art / Drawing / Gentle and Smooth Brushstrokes / Geometric Abstraction / Geometric Expression / Greece / Light Art / Mixed Media Art / Mixed Media Sculpture / Neon / Neon and Fluorescent Light / Neon Light Sculpture / New York / Paper / Pencil / Pencil on Paper / Primary Colors / Public Art / Restrained Expression / Sculpture / Sensory Experience / Space/Spatiality / United States / Wood / Works on Wall

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Exhibitions

  • 2020

    Joseph Cornell and Stephen Antonakos: Constructing Worlds, Shin Gallery, New York, NY

  • 2019

    ANTONAKOS: RED+, Shin Gallery, New York, NY (solo)

  • 2018

    At the Beginning Was the Word, National Art Museum of China, Beijing

Public Art Projects

  • 1978

    Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

  • Federal Building, Dayton, OH

Commissions

  • 2011

    Pharos for exhibition Polyglossia: Greek

  • Artists of the Diaspora, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens

  • 2009

    The Road to Mistra, Onassis Foundation for the Olympic Tower Atrium, NY

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Curriculum Vitae

The artist CV shows the details after 2000s.
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Selected Exhibitions

  • 2020

    Joseph Cornell and Stephen Antonakos: Constructing Worlds, Shin Gallery, New York, NY

  • 2019

    ANTONAKOS: RED+, Shin Gallery, New York, NY (solo)

  • 2018

    At the Beginning Was the Word, National Art Museum of China, Beijing

  • The Alpha Bank Collection. Greek Art from 1960 until Today, Thessaloniki Metropolitan Organization of Museums of Visual Arts, port of Thessaloniki

  • Antonakos: The Room Chapel, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA

  • Bending Light: Neon Art 1965 to Now, Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY, Purchase, NY

  • Antonakos: Proscenium, Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY, Purchase, NY

  • 2017

    documenta 14, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST)

  • documenta 14: ANTIDORON, The EMST Collection, Fredericianum, Kassel

  • 2016

    National MCA, Athens (EMST) (acquires “White Cube with Blue and Red Neon” 1982)

  • The Alpha Bank Collection: Greek Art from 1950 to the Present Day, MCA Crete, Rethymnon

  • urgent conversations: athens — antwerp, National MCA Athens and Flemish MCA, Antwerp

  • Genii Loci. Greek art from the 30’s till today, Three Greek museum collections, St. Petersburg, Russia

  • 2015

    Antonakos: 1977-1978, Cuts and a Wall, Lori Bookstein Fine Art, NY

  • Antonakos: L’espace de la Feuille, Galerie Tanit, Beirut

  • Antonakos: Survey Exhibition of Prints, State MA, Salonica, Greece (curated by Anna Tsantsanoglou)

  • 2013

    Antonakos: Four Directions, Galerie Konrad Fischer, Berlin

  • Antonakos: Pillows 1962-63, Lori Bookstein Fine Art, NY

  • Dynamo: a century of light and movement in art, Le Grand Palais, Paris (curated by Serge Lemoine)

  • Correspondences, L’Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris

  • The Mediterranean Experience, State MCA, Salonica (curated by Denys Zacharopoulos)

  • Come Together: Surviving Sandy, Year 1, presented by Dedalus Foundation / Brooklyn Rail / Jamestown Charitable Foundation, Industry City, Brooklyn (curated by Phong Bui)

  • The Pop Object: The Still Life Tradition in Pop Art, Acquavella Galleries, NY

  • Tradition-Reversal, 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, State MCA, port of Salonica

  • 2012

    White: The Anatomy of a Color, National Academy Museum, NY (curated by Marshall Price)

  • GOLD, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Belvedere Palace, Vienna, Austria

  • Neon: Who's afraid of red yellow and blue?, La Maison Rouge, Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Paris

  • 2011

    Antonakos: The Search, The Aeschyleia Festival, Elefsina, Greece

  • Antonakos: Spaces, Lori Bookstein Fine Art, NY

  • See the Light, Espace Louis Vuitton, Hong Kong

  • Onassis Cultural Center, Athens (commissions “Pharos” for exhibition Polyglossia: Greek Artists of the Diaspora)

  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture, National Academy and Museum, NY

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Greek America Foundation, Chicago

  • 2010

    Antonakos: Whites, Lori Bookstein Fine Art, NY

  • Drawing in Progress, Middlesbrough Museum of Modern Art, Middlesbrough, England

  • The Novak / O’Doherty Collection, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland

  • 2009

    Antonakos: Taxidi, National MCA, Athens (EMST) (curated by Anna Kafetsi)

  • In and Out of Amsterdam: art & project, The Museum of Modern Art, NY (curated by Christophe Cherix)

  • Drawn Toward Light, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin

  • Exhibition of Works by Newly Elected Members and Recipients of Honors and Awards, American Academy of Arts and Letters, NY

  • 2008

    Antonakos: New Wall Works, Kalfayan Gallery, Athens

  • Antonakos: Darkness and Light, Savannah College of Art and Design, GA and ACA Gallery of SCAD, Atlanta, GA (curated by Marshall N. Price)

  • Antonakos: A Retrospective, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA (re-curated by Robert Mattison)

  • Transexperience Greece 2008, 798 Space, Beijing and National MCA, Athens (curated by Anna Kafetsi)

  • 2007

    Antonakos: Recurrence, Hellenic American Union, Athens; exhibition and permanent Public Work (curated by Ira Papadopoulou)

  • Antonakos: A Retrospective, Benaki Museum, Pireos, Athens (organized by the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation, curated by Katerina Koskina)

  • Based on Paper: Revolution der Kunst 1960 - 75, Collection Marzona, Kulturforum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany

  • 2005

    Antonakos: Five Decades of Drawing, Graduate Center Gallery, CUNY, NY (curated by Diane Kelder)

  • The Marzona Collection, Museum Moderne Kunst, Vienna

  • Drawings, Neue Nationale Galerie, Berlin

  • 2004

    Antonakos: Remembrance, Chapel of St. George, Mystras, Greece (curated by Andreas Ioannidis)

  • Antonakos: To Spiti / The House, Andros, Greece (curated by Athina Schina)

  • Antonakos: 3 Spaces / 4 Directions, Lafayette College, Easton, PA (curated by Ed Kerns)

  • Periplo del Mediterraneo...Antonakos, Burri, Klein, Tapies, Museo dell’Academia, Genoa

  • 2003

    Antonakos: Silent Chapel, Onassis Cultural Center, NY

  • Antonakos: Journey, State MCA, Salonica (curated by Maria Kotzamani)

  • Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Nigata Prefecture, Japan (curated by Fram Kitagawa)

  • 2001

    Marzona Villa Manin: una collezione d'arte: The Marzona Collection, Villa Manin di Pasariano, Italy (in connection with the XLIX Venice Biennale)

  • Im Spiegel der Freiheit, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany, and full-scale “Chapel of the Theotokos” (curated by Helmut Th. Seemann)

  • 2000

    Antonakos: Public Works 1973 — 2000, State MCA, Salonica

  • Antonakos: Time Boxes 2000, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis Univ., Waltham, MA (curated by Joseph D. Ketner)

  • Antonakos: Proscenium, Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase, NY (curated by Judith Collischan)

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase, NY

Public Art Projects

  • 1978

    Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

  • Federal Building, Dayton, OH

Commissions

  • 2011

    Pharos for exhibition Polyglossia: Greek

  • Artists of the Diaspora, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens

  • 2009

    The Road to Mistra, Onassis Foundation for the Olympic Tower Atrium, NY

Residencies

  • 1980

    D.A.A.D, New York

Collections

  • Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens (Relief, 1980s)

  • Cleveland Museum of Art, OH (Golden Eikonostasio, 1996)

  • Dallas MCA, TX (Hanging Neon, 1965 and 10 Project Drawings)

  • The Menil Collection, Houston, TX (2 Pillows and 2 Pillow Drawings, 1962-1963)

  • National MCA, Athens (EMST) (White Cube with Blue and Red Neon, 1982)

  • Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase, NY

  • Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, NY (Voyage, 1999)

  • The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT (Untitled Neon Canvas (for Michael Krichman), 1986 /Orange Vertical Floor Neon)

  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (White Light, 1962)

Publications

  • 2011

    Stephen Antonakos: Gold Works, Stephen Antonakos Studio (interview with Irving Sandler)

  • 2009

    Antonakos: Magician of Neon by Efi Strousa, published by Ta Nea (Art News), Athens (146 color pages / in Greek)

  • 2008

    Stephen Antonakos: 151 Images and an Essay by Nathan Kernan, David Krut Pub., Johannesburg and New York

Bibliography

  • 2014

    Savvas Michael’s tribute, “Kumi Ori — Shine… or the Dream and the Real” is published in Ta Nea (Art News), Athens (in Greek and English)