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Stephen Antonakos papers, 1932-2014, bulk 1960-2014

Antonakos, Stephen, 1926-2013


Collection Information

Size: 24.2 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York sculptor Stephen Antonakos measure 24.2 linear feet and date from 1932-2014, with the bulk of the material dating from 1960-2014. The collection documents Antonakos's pioneering work in neon, through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, project files, exhibition files, printed material, and photographs.
Biographical material comprises biographical statements and resumes, transcripts of 5 interviews, copies of obituaries, and other records relating to Antonakos's memorial service in 2013.
Correspondence is primarily professional, with scattered personal correspondence, and provides suppemental documentation of all aspects of the artist's career, including gifts, sales, loans, and consignments to galleries and museums such as Allentown Art Museum, Art Front Gallery, Benaki Museum, The Drawing Room, Fisbach Gallery, Galleria Bonomo, Galerie Bonnier, Kalfayan Galleries, Konrad Fischer Gallery, Egidio Marzona, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens.
Writings and notes provide artist statements on all aspects of Antonakos's work, as well as teaching notes from the 1960s.
Project files are a rich source of information on Antonakos's pioneering work in neon, particularly as it applies to large-scale public installations, including neons for: Atlanta Hartsfield Airport; 42nd Street and the 59th Street Transfer Station in New York City; the Faret Tachicawa public art project in Japan curated by Fram Kitagawa; the Back Bay/South End Station in Boston; and the Reading Chimney in Tel Aviv. All aspects of the artist's work, from conception on paper through execution and reception by the public, are documented here in correspondence, artist statements and proposals, contracts, insurance records, original drawings, plans and blueprints, printed material, and photographs. Ideas and proposals for projects not executed are also documented in this series, and comprise the same types of material.
Antonakos's conceptual Packages are documented in lists, letters of transmittal, and photographs. The series also holds the contents of a package given to the Archives of American Art in 1975 and opened, as instructed, upon his death: a 35mm microfilm of a sketchbook kept by Antonakos from 1974-1975, with sketches and notes about his neon projects. Exhibition files are another rich source of information on Antonakos's artistic development, which can be traced chronologically in this series from some of his earliest work with neon in combination with found objects, to the use of neon alone.
Exhibition files show the artist's progression from placing neon on a base or wall and at the corners and ceilings of rooms, to placing tubes at the edges of panels in order to generate a colored glow around them; furthermore, they document the evolution from his early boxes, contained spaces, and indoor and outdoor rooms, to his meditation spaces and chapels. Also in evidence in this series is the artist's prolific output of drawings, which were shown in numerous exhibitions. Exhibitions documented include circa 100 solo and well over 100 group exhibitions, at venues including Allentown Art Museum, Benaki Museum, The Drawing Room, Galleriaforma, Genova, Galerie Bonnier, Geneva, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens, John Weber Gallery, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, Lori Bookstein Fine Art, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Rose Art Museum, and Savannah College of Art and Design. Many of the files include Antonakos's original drawings and plans.
Printed material comprises announcements and catalogs for Antonakos's solo and group exhibitions, posters of the same, press and publicity clippings, and 10 publications about or including Antonakos and his work.
There are 7 photographs of Antonakos, including a portrait by George Kokinds and photos with others including Sebastian Adler, the artist's daughter Evangelina Mary Spector Antonakos, his second wife Naomi Spector Antonakos, Ronald Bladen, and Richard Koshalek. Also found are photos of artwork by category, and a videodisc (DVD) of sample images.
The collection includes 3 videodiscs (DVD), 1 electronic disc (DVD) 3 electronic discs (CD), and 1 reel of microfilm (35mm).

Biographical/Historical Note

Stephen Antonakos (1926-2013) was a sculptor from New York, New York. Antonakos specialized in incorporating neon into his works. He also created Package Projects that consisted of sending wrapped packages to friends and colleagues that were not to be opened or were to be opened at a specified time.


The collection was donated in 1975 and 1981 by Stephen Antonakos, and in 2014 by Naomi Spector Antonakos.

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