Sunday, February 07, 2016

Museum of Neon Art (MONA)


We love neon. It’s colorful, technologically fascinating and, of course, magnificently retro. In recent years, L.A. has undergone something of a neon renaissance, with local businesses reactivating many of the area’s most iconic—and spectacular—signs, including Culver City’s fabulous Helms Bakery neon.

One of the first things we did, when we moved back to L.A. in the mid-90s, was join the Museum of Neon Art (MONA), which in those days was located downtown. It housed well-known, but discarded, signs of yore and was a wonderful slice of yesterday.

 New museum greeter

 Neon clocks for sale in the gift shop

Old (new?) clock

Last night, MONA reopened on trendy Brand Blvd. in Glendale.  The museum had been closed for several years, fundraising and renovating its new site, so we were anxious to go. We were greeted by a 10-foot neon frog—wearing a tux and top hat, no less!—in the gift shop window. Past the gift shop was a room filled with refreshments. Down the hall from there was the main exhibit room, where a string band—with neon instruments!—was setting up to play.

Wall art and neon musical instruments

One of the more fun new pieces 

Another interesting new piece: neon overlaid on
depiction of indigenous people
The room was filled with new art that was interesting and, in some cases, even fun. But only a handful of the museum’s older holdings were on display—where was the Brown Derby hat and Manny, Moe and Jack? To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement. Still, if you’re into neon, you’ve got to go. The gift shop itself is worth a quick trip.

Iconic image: Van de Kamp's


Chevrolet OK used cars

"Cameras" and "Win with Winning Wire"


Outside the museum: Clayton Plumbers

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