Fine Art in Las Vegas

By Gangelhoff, Bonnie | Southwest Art, November 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Fine Art in Las Vegas

Gangelhoff, Bonnie, Southwest Art



The art world is both fascinated and appalled. Fine art in Las Vegas? Can Picasso thrive alongside dancing dolphins, poker tables, and Wayne Newton? The high rollers are betting on it. And the odds look good. "We are having an explosion of art here," rhapsodizes Trish Williamson, public relations director for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. "This is the entertainment capital of the world. Now we are adding art."

What Williamson is referring to is the scheduled October 2001 openings of not one but two branches of the Guggenheim Museum at the grand Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, a 6,000-room entertainment complex. The Hermitage-Guggenheim Museum is a collaboration between the St. Petersburg, Russia, and New York art institutions. Its inaugural exhibition, Masterpieces and Master Collectors, presents works by Matisse, Monet, and Picasso. The Guggenheim Las Vegas bows in with The Art of the Motorcycle, an unusual exhibit that raised snobby eyebrows when it opened at the Guggenheim in New York. The exhibit features 120 motorcycles and chronicles key moments in the machine's evolution.

Both museums are designed by the architect of the moment, Rem Koolhaas of the Netherlands. California architect Frank 0. Gehry, who created the splashy Guggenheim Bilbao, designed the exhibition space for the cycle show. Designs by these two international powerhouses alone offer enough incentive to visit Vegas as an art destination.

For the uninitiated, the two "Guggs" aren't the first highart venues to surface attached to glitzy hotels and casinos. The trend actually began several years ago with the vision of one man---casino owner Steve Wynn. Reportedly, when Wynn heard that more Americans visit art exhibitions than sports events, he decided to own the first casino to house an art collection-his own, valued in the multi-millions. He also wanted to attract a high-end, sophisticated clientele to his new hotel, the 3,000-room Bellagio that opened in 1998. His hotel gallery was an instant success. And Wynn soon became known as the catalyst behind the New Vegas, the first person to merge the gaming and entertainment industry with high art.

Wynn's vision, along with a widespread effort to bring in designer boutiques and kid-friendly attractions, is causing Sin City, which was founded by gangsters, to attract a new kind of crowd. "It's not just a gaming destination anymore. At Bellagio, 50 percent or more of the people come here for the non-gaming aspects: entertainment, shopping, and dining with award-winning chefs," says Wendie Mosca, public relations manager for MGM Mirage, which includes the Bellagio hotel and the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Mosca points out that a recent show of works from the Phillips Collection averaged 800 visitors a day and chalked up a total of 165,279 viewers to the gallery. The following show, which closed in September, garnered even more ink and airtime because it displayed entertainer Steve Martin's collection-an array of paintings that included works by Edward Hopper and Picasso.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Fine Art in Las Vegas


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?