Iconic neon signs that once dotted the St. Louis landscape will be on display alongside new, original works for “Memory & Desire: A Personal Exploration of Neon Art, Past and Present,” a new exhibition that opens Sept. 27 at Laumeier Sculpture Park.

David Hutson

St. Louis artist David Hutson’s newly created works will be showcased alongside 14 neon signs that have been restored for the exhibit. Highlights include signs from bygone local businesses such as Big Boy’s Restaurant, Bang’s Ice Cream, Saratoga Bowl in Maplewood, Curlee Clothing downtown and Klund’s Bakery.

In addition, Laumeier has commissioned a new large-scale neon sculpture by Hutson, “When I Rise, 2018,”  to be installed on a towering tree in the park’s Way Field. The text-based work wraps around the tree trunk, cascading a quote by celebrated American novelist Wendell Berry.

“Memory & Desire,” a part of the 2018 Kranzberg Exhibition Series, will be on view in Laumeier’s Aronson Fine Arts Center from Sept. 27 to Jan. 13, 2019.

The exhibition officially opens on Thursday, Sept. 27, from 7 to 9 p.m., and is free and open to all ages. There will be a 6 p.m. Cocktails and Conversation reception for guests 21 and older prior to the public opening that will give attendees the opportunity to meet the artist and curator Dana Turkovic.

Hutson, a neon artist with a specialization in theater production, has exhibited his artwork nationally and is a consultant for internationally renowned theatrical productions. He has lectured extensively about his collection of restored vintage neon signs, and serves on numerous historic preservation commissions with a focus on the care and maintenance of objects related to Historic Route 66. Hutson owns Neon Time in St. Charles, where he creates his own work and restores neon signs.