The New Museum Of Neon Art In Los Angeles Is An Ode To A Bygone Era

Dane Rivera

There’s something special about neon. Maybe it’s because of its relationship with cinema or just romanticism for a lost era (one which you probably weren’t alive for), but neon has a strangely magical… ahem… glow about it. It’s got the distinct ability to conjure up a mysterious and alluring vibe despite — or maybe even because of — its simplicity.

Glendale’s Museum of Neon Art, or MONA, offers its visitors a glimpse of a bygone Los Angeles with its new exhibit “There’s More to Neon Signs Than Liquor, Motels, And Live Nude Girls.” MONA’s exhibit (running from March 11-August 26) is a glowing collection of signs from the seedier side of LA nightlife. Dive bars, strip clubs, poker machines, and cheap entertainment — it’s like a Bukowski fever dream set to the incessant hum these signs produce.

Dane Rivera

The exhibit itself offers plenty of information on what exactly neon is and what gives it its signature glow. It’s a fascinating bit of context that helps you appreciate the marriage of art and science MONA is out to celebrate. If what the compact exhibit offers isn’t enough to satiate your need for neon, the museum also offers a neon cruise (why it’s not a booze-cruise is beyond us), a guided bus-tour of some of LA’s finest still-operating neon signs, and classes that’ll leave you with new knowledge, insight, and hopefully an awesome piece of art to haunt the halls of your house or apartment.

The MONA is photo friendly, so if you’re looking for new Instagram fodder that’ll have everyone sliding into your dm’s to ask “hey where ya at?!” then this is for you. You won’t even need to use a filter because of all the moody tones being thrown around while the signs animate. Best of all, while the exhibit is fun and illuminating (zing!), it doesn’t demand your whole day like other LA museums. It’s easily squeezed into a bigger LA itinerary for vistors and locals alike.

Dane Rivera