Thomas Putzier selected as The Neon Museum’s 2022 Artist in Residence


The Neon Museum is proud to announce that acclaimed interdisciplinary artist, Thomas Putzier, has been selected as its seventh Artist in Residence (AIR7).

Describing his inspiration for the residency project, Putzier stated that he will focus on the role neon signage has played in serving as visual representations of expression, personality, and leisure. “I plan to explore the way this design iconography has impacted the field of architecture. In my solo show, I will highlight sci-fi futuristic space-age forms and geometry, from the design history of Las Vegas, by collaging their elements into completely new works of art.”

Putzier is also well-known for his public engagement projects that are designed to inspire fun, informative, and transformational experiences. He plans to further develop an earlier piece titled “Temple of Agency,” which has incorporated a game show format, penguin performers, and artist-led conversations with a new neon-signage-inspired twist.

In selecting Putzier, 2022 guest AIR juror, associate curator, and outreach director for the Nevada Museum of Art, Carmen Beals described his work as “engaging, futuristic, bold, and engaging.” She stated, “his prior geometric sculptures are fun, brightly colored, and flamboyant, which match the expectations of this great city.”

“The Neon Museum is excited to welcome Tom this year. We’re inspired by his fascination with not only the nature of neon signage but also the buildings and architecture associated with those signs. It provides a fascinating jumping-off point to create original works that reflect Las Vegas," says Aaron Berger, executive director of The Neon Museum.

“As his prior works seek to break down barriers of politics and lead guests to embrace the idea of inclusivity for all, I am confident that the work he creates as the museum’s artist in residence will enhance our collection and offer unique educational opportunities for our members, guests, and the broader community," Berger adds.


Putzier is a queer Minneapolis-based conceptual artist and designer. His practice imagines new worlds to examine relationships between architecture, power, freedom, and control. His works create a universe and prophetic mythology that confronts disciplinary and ideological boundaries through architectural design, drawing, painting, performance, sound, and video.

His works have been exhibited in galleries, museums, and sculpture parks, including Art Shanty Projects (2020, 2022), Minneapolis, CICA Museum (2022), Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Franconia Sculpture Park (2017-), Shafer, MN, Hutchinson Center for the Arts (2021), Hutchinson, MN, I-Park’s Site-Responsive Biennale (2021-), CT, Josephine Sculpture Park (2022-), Frankfort, KY, and White Bear Center for the Arts (2020), White Bear Lake, MN, among others. Residencies include Danebod Folk School (2014, 2018), Tyler, MN, I-Park Foundation Inc. (2021), East Haddam, CT, and Sagehen Creek Field Station (2018, 2019), Truckee, CA. Putzier received an MFA from Sierra Nevada University, Incline Village, NV, and a BFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Selected from a record number of high-quality and diverse submissions, Putzier will visit Las Vegas for an introductory week in September, when he will have the opportunity to explore the city and learn more about its cultural and architectural history. He will then return to Las Vegas at the end of the year to create new work during the six-week residency period, culminating in a solo exhibition. Additional details on residency programming and scheduling will be announced in the future.

The Neon Museum residency program supports the museum’s mission to cultivate the arts and further cultural enrichment. Each year, it includes community engagement, such as workshops and artist talks. Resident artists are selected by a dedicated jury team from the museum’s staff, including an invited community arts leader in the role of guest juror each year.

The AIR7 program is made possible by sponsorships from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the National Endowment for the Arts and Nevada Arts Council, and Laci Cerrone, Las Vegas Gal.

Founded in 1996, The Neon Museum is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying, and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. 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 immersive audiovisual spectacle “Brilliant!” which uses technology advances to re-illuminate more than 40 non-operational signs; 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, and arts preservation represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. The museum is located at 770 N. Las Vegas Blvd. in Las Vegas. For more information, including tour schedules and tickets, visit www.neonmuseum.org. Also follow @NeonMuseum on Facebook and Twitter and @theneonmuseumlasvegas on Instagram.