December 30, 2020



Still from 360-degree tour of “What You Mean to Me,” by 2020
Neon Museum Artist in Residence Victor Ehikhamenor
(Screenshot courtesy The Neon Museum)


LAS VEGAS (December 2020) – The Neon Museum introduces a 360-degree, self-guided, virtual exhibition of brand-new artwork by internationally lauded Nigerian-American artist Victor Ehikhamenor. Titled “What You Mean to Me,” it is the two-time Venice Biennale exhibitor’s newest solo exhibition and his first in the Western United States. Virtual visitors can navigate around the installation, see photographs of the work in progress and listen to Ehikhamenor’s recorded discussion of each work.  The virtual exhibition is free and available for exploring here.

Comprising five three-dimensional artworks illuminated with neon tubing and monumental in scale, Ehikhamenor produced the work over seven weeks during his artist-in-residency at The Neon Museum. His residency took place from Oct. 26 through Dec. 18.

Incorporating interpretations of iconic Las Vegas signs in the Museum’s exhibitions and archive, Ehikhamenor’s artwork also includes references to historic and contemporary culture. He integrates these elements into large-scale drawings interwoven into sculpture and installation work. This new series, exhibited within the context of the Museum’s historic sign collection, marks a fresh avenue of exploration for Ehikhamenor through the incorporation of neon elements.

“Working with The Neon Museum for this residency enabled me to create a conversation between the classic neon signage and my contemporary work. I’ve enjoyed mixing with members of the Las Vegas community and interacting with the space and place,” said Ehikhamenor. “With neon, I have turned on a new medium in my career and imagine I will use it again and again. Oscar, the neon bender at Hartlauer Signs who worked on these works with me, was not just a fabricator—he was a collaborator, as excited as I was to see my iconography translated into neon designs.”

Virtual art exhibitions have become increasingly popular over the course of the pandemic, with world-famous art institutions around the world making them available to a global population whose travel plans have been scuttled. This past fall, The Neon Museum debuted a 360-degree tour of its open-air Boneyard Collection of historic Las Vegas signs; it is available here.

“Due to the pandemic and limitations on public gatherings, we developed this 360-degree, self-guided virtual tour to allow art lovers from around the world to engage with Victor’s extraordinary pieces,” said Bruce Spotleson, acting executive director, The Neon Museum. “Because encounters with creativity provide essential sources of inspiration and transcendence during this singular time, we are pleased to share this extraordinary work with art lovers everywhere.”

This exhibition marks The Neon Museum’s fifth National Artist in Residence; the program began in 2016. It is supported, in part, by the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and the State of Nevada. The Neon Museum would also like to acknowledge the generous support of Juhl Las Vegas.

Victor Ehikhamenor is a Nigerian-American artist, photographer and writer. He has been prolific in producing abstract, symbolic and politically motivated works. A 2016 Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellow, Ehikhamenor was one of three artists to represent Nigeria at the first Nigerian Pavilion in the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. His work has been featured in numerous biennales, including the 5th Mediations Biennale in Poznan, Poland (2016) and the Biennale Jogja XIII, Indonesia (2015), and exhibited in London, Lagos and Washington D.C. Throughout his career, Ehikhamenor has maintained an interest in signs, symbols and language. The patterning that defines his work is a form of gestural abstraction reminiscent of written language.

As a writer, he has published both fiction and critical essays with academic journals, mainstream magazines and newspapers around the world including New York Times, BBC, CNN Online, Washington Post, AGNI and Wasafiri. He is the founder of Angels and Muse, a thought laboratory dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary African art. In 2013, Ehikhamenor collaborated with Nigerian fashion designer Ituen Basi to create the Ekemini collection which has been featured in Vogue Italia, and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion show. Ehikhamenor received his MFA from the University of Maryland, College Park. He maintains a studio in Lagos, Nigeria and Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. It has been named “Best Museum” by Las Vegas Weekly, one of “Sin City’s Best Retro Sites” by MSN, “No. 1 Las Vegas Museum Sure to Entertain and Educate” by USAToday’s, “One of the Top 10 Coolest Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do” by, one of the “Top 10 Historic Spots in Las Vegas” by; one of “15 Most Fascinating Museums in the U.S.” by; and earns a consistent 4.5 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor. On its 2.27-acre campus, the Neon Museum houses an outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard (“boneyard” is traditionally the name for an area where items no longer in use are stored); the North Gallery, home to the nighttime augmented-reality, audiovisual spectacle, “Brilliant!”; the Boulevard Gallery outdoor exhibit and event space; and its visitors’ center, housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby. The museum collection also includes nine restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas. Public education, outreach, research, archival preservation and a grant-funded neon sign survey represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. Both the Neon Boneyard and the La Concha Visitors’ Center are located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North in Las Vegas. Click here for tour schedules and pricing information. Follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Vanessa Thill/Erika Pope
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