Keith Sonnier’s iconic career began in the 1960s when he was one of the first artists to experiment with light sculpture and eventually his more recognizable medium: neon. The linear quality of neon allows Sonnier to draw in space with light and color while the combination of the two interacts with the surrounding architecture.
From July 1 through January 27 the Parrish Art Museum is welcoming the full extent of Sonnier’s achievements with more than 30 works revealing his diverse output from 1967 to the present.
Keith Sonnier: Until Today features the artist’s quintessential and constantly evolving neon sculpture, as well as sound pieces and a site-specific neon installation in the Museum’s spine. In addition, the exhibition will feature work rarely shown in the U.S., including large-scale sculpture influenced by the artist’s deep interest in other cultures.
Among Sonnier’s early works on view, Rat Tail Exercise (1968) is created from string, latex, rubber and flocking, which presents a dynamic shape through minimal use of line. His untitled 1967 piece features a 22-section sewn-satin object that rests low on the floor yet dominates the room.
If you’re more interested in Sonnier’s neon and light sculptures, Keith Sonnier: Until Today also includes Ba-O-Ba (1969), with tubes of colored neon traversing large geometric planes of glass; as well as Neon Wrapping Neon V (1969) and Neon Wrapping Incandescent II (1970), which reveal the surprising durability and expressive possibilities of the material.
The exhibition, organized for the Parrish Art Museum by guest curator Jeffrey Grove and Museum Director Terrie Sultan, will travel to the New Orleans Museum of Art following the Parrish presentation.
“The Parrish is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the full arc of Sonnier’s career to light,” Sultan says. “Not only is Sonnier one of the most innovative artists working in the United States today, his creativity is an inspiration to entirely new generations of artists.”
The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill.