Keith Sonnier (1941 – 2020) radically reinvented sculpture in the late 1960s. Employing unusual materials that had never before been used, Sonnier, along with his contemporaries, Bruce Nauman, Richard Tuttle, Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, and Barry Le Va, called all previous conceptions of sculpture into question. Sonnier has experimented with materials as varied as latex, satin, bamboo, found objects, satellite transmitters, and video. In 1968, the artist began working with neon, which quickly became a defining element of his work. The linear quality of neon allows Sonnier to draw in space with light and color, while the diffuseness of the light enables his work to interact on various architectural planes.
Sonnier has been the subject of over 150 one-artist exhibitions worldwide, including Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1979); P.S. 1 Institute for Art and Urban Resources, Long Island City (1983); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (1989); Sprengel Museum, Hanover (1993); Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York (1999); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (1999); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2003); the Hall Art Foundation, Reading, Vermont (2015); Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice (2015); and Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York (2018).