Friday, October 26, 2012

Las Vegas- definitely more than drinking and gambling

I traveled to Las Vegas this past week.  Husband had a conference for 1 1/2 days and we enjoyed the other days together.  One of the nights we visited the Bellagio Fine Arts Gallery.  They are currently hosting an exhibit called Claude Monet Impressions of Light.  This exhibit was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  First off I think this is the first time my husband and I have ever been to an art gallery/exhibit together.  He's not a big classic art fan, but knew that I love Monet and impressionism so we went and viewed the exhibit.

It was GREAT!  I have known Monet's works since late junior high, early high school years.  I used to have a print of his in my college dorm room and then college apartment.  Alas I moved it on when we started having kids and needed to change the "guest room" into a children's room.  Anyways, the exhibit was great just because there were so many works of Monet's I've never seen.  Other French Impressionists were also highlighted in the exhibit: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Camille Pissaro, and Eugene Louis Boudin.  It also was a GREAT exhibit because a free audio tour came with the price of entry, which I didn't think was bad ($16).  With almost every painting there was an audio description which was somewhat abbreviated or different than what was posted next to the art work.  So I felt like I was getting a full docent tour of the gallery.  As we were leaving my husband and I went around and pointed out our 1-2 favorites.  He surprised me further when he said we should get a print of one of the exhibit pieces.

Then the next day I had all to myself and so decided to look at more art and took the City Center Fine Art Collection walking tour.  We stayed at ARIA, which is a whole other post because of how beautiful it was, but quite a bit of the art on the tour was housed on the ARIA grounds.  At the concierge desk you can pick up your own walking tour brochure.  I started at 11:35 a.m., Midwest time, and finished 1:05 pm Midwest time. The tour was a little challenging because other than the name of the piece and brief description along with looking at the Map I had no real idea what I was looking for.  Most of the pieces did have a plague next to the piece with further information about artist, etc, so I did good by looking for those plaques, but some of the art work was too massive etc to have me find the plaques. So then I just asked for help.  Everyone was super nice and one of the employees of ARIA had a great idea- they should have placed pictures of the piece next to the description so people would know what to look for.

So the following are pictures I took with Iphone, sorry didn't take the chance of packing the "good camera" for this trip, but next time I should because there were so many great pictures to take while in Vegas.  The following pictures will have the name of the piece, year, artist and brief description taken from the brochure(words in italics) along with my take on the piece.  Enjoy the virtual tour.

Silver River, 2009 by Maya Lin
A recreation of the Colorado River, this commission was created entirely of cast reclaimed silver.  Considered to be one of the most important public artist of the 21st century, May Lin's work maintains a balance between art and architecture, including large-scale, site-specific installations,... such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
This piece was awesome and my little phone picture doesn't due it justice.  In front of this piece is the registration desk at the ARIA.  The first time I saw this piece I thought it looked like a lightning bolt, but the river is definitely visualized.

LUMIA, ARIA Resort Main entrance
Twisting ribbons and large arcs of streaming water create bold, captivating "waters sparks" at their intersections.  Lumia is the first fountain to be lit so the vibrant colors are visible during daylight.
I just wasn't into this fountain.  It was neat at night with the light though.

FOCUS, ARIA Resort outside of lobby
Ever-changing choreographed patterns effortlessly sweep across this expansive, curved water wall, made of highly textured stone.  The all-enveloping flow creates a calming, ocean-like  timbre.
Probably one of my favorite pieces from the tour.  This wall was amazing.  It was very long at least a block long and at night the white flowing water was even more stark.  The sound was amazing too.

Bolt, 2007, Bent of Mind, 2008 and Untitled (Tall Column), 2008 by Tony Cragg
Cragg's biomporphic forms investigate the physics of materials and spark a dialouge between man, material and the world.  These three towering columns exemplify how the sculptor uses a material such as stainless steel to it fullest extent, pushing the boundaries of the material, while creating exceedingly graceful works of art with substantial presence.  
Sorry only took a picture of the one.  They were amazing pieces.  The material reminded me of liquid mercury.



New Walken, 2006 by Julian Schnabel
There were 9 pictures total, but these three were my favorites.  Christopher Walken has been captured in these pieces as the way in which I envision him to be: mysterious, serious, and keeps you guessing.  Beautiful pieces- art/photography, totally fascinating conversation pieces.

Champagne Supernova, 2009 by Tim Bavington
I had to go in the High Limit Slot room at ARIA to see this one.  I think this piece is vibrant, gorgeous, sexy, and anything with the name Champagne in its name is all right by me.  

Feeling Material XXVIII, 2007 by Antony Gormley
Over the last 25 years, Antony Gormley has reinvigorated the human image in sculpture through a radical investigation of the body as a place of transformation, using his own body as subject and tool.  this suspended reinvention of hte hum form interacts with the space on multiple levels.
Not my style, too abstract.


LATISSE Fountains ARIA North Lobby
Latisse soars as a series of two-story- high water falls composed purely of thick, textured glass.  Brilliant white lightning illuminates the sloping glass planes, producing the illusion of an elegant floor-to-ceiling chandelier.  
Another one of my favorites.  Again these pictures don't do the art justice.  The walls of glass were beautiful and watching the water flow down them was like art in an of itself.


Big Edge, 2009 by Nancy Rubins
With hundreds of boats carefully sculpted together, Nancy Rubins' monumental Big Edge creates the perfect centerpiece for the city's greatest architectural achievement.  Rubins a sculptor and artisan famous for grandiose works created from salvaged, industrial consumer goods, was selected for the collection based  on her ability to achieve this scale of work with such grandeur.
One of the most whimsical, funny and "put a smile on your face" art pieces I have ever seen.  The canoes were amazing and all different colors lent to the pieces playfulness.  





Day for Night, Night for Day, 2009 by Peter Wegner
American artist Peter Wegner's installations fuse art and architecture through the creation of towering sculptures made from he most ordinary object; a sheet of paper.  These two gridded stacks of blue and red have both the color balance of a great painting and the physical presence of a powerful sculpture.
The two smaller pictures above high light the overlapping of hues of colors that then form the massive pieces.  Can't even begin to think how long this piece took the artist and where or how you work on something so large.  

Damascus Gate Variation I, 1969 by Frank Stella
Frank Stella's incredibly vibrant art makes the Vdara Lobby come alive with its fluorescent colors and interweaving shaped canvas.  Recognized for more than 45 years for important contributions to abstract expressionism, sculpture and the concept of the shaped canvas.
On the plaque next to this piece there was further information about how this artist had a whole Protractor Series spanning 1967-1971- this piece once I read that is even more visually amusing and enjoyable due to looking for all the multiple protractors in the piece.  This was quite a backdrop for a hotel lobby.




Crossroads of Humanity, 2009 by Doze Green
Both the green and the blue pieces are seen on the outside of the tram at Monte Carlo/Aria and the tram center at Bellagio.  This artist is known for the early hip/hop graffiti movement which started in New York City. 

 Circle of  Chance

Earth, 2009 by Richard Long
Known as one of Britain's best-known sculptors and conceptual artists, the majority of Richard Long's works, inspired by the natural landscapes, are created using natural materials such as wood and stones.  With these two awe-inspiring wall drawings, we encountered his energetic use of mud from the River Avon, which Long applied directly with his own hands.
I really liked the Circle of Chance, but not so much Earth.  These pieces are housed in the two Veer towers, which are luxury condos right in front of ARIA and Vdara.  Amazing tours and amazing art work to grace their lobbies.

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, 1989-1999 by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
One of the best examples of celebrated pop artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen is this 24-foot-high Typewriter Eraser.  This playful use of a common everyday object, one that is possibly unknown to recent generations, is a unique experience, meant to elicit humor and curiosity.
 I can't remember ever seeing my mom use a typewriter eraser.  I remember her using a typewriter as a child, but don't remember this item.  It was interesting and did spark some curiosity in my mind. 

 Cactus Life-living with the Earth, 2007-2008 by Masatoshi Izumi
Masatoshi Izumi's graceful sculpture is made of large pieces of intricately poised basalt- a form of lava that has cooled on the surface of the volcano.  it towers more than 17 feet and weighs approximately eight tons.  Izumis' work celebrates harmony with nature by taking existing forms and altering them slightly to reveal an even more beautiful state.
Not my style, but would look cool in an arid southwest cactus garden.

Untitled, Dnago, 2002, Untitled, Triangle Dango, 1996 and Untitled, Dango, 1992 by Jun Kaneko
Japanese ceramic artist Jun kaneko's three works offer the perfect balance of scale and design, allowing the work to unify within the surrounding architectural design.  Made entirely of clay and fired in a giant kiln, the tallest of the three sculptures reaches and impressive seven feet tall, a difficult feat in ceramics.  The name "dango" means "Japanese dumpling".
Not my style, but went well with the motif housed in the entry to the Mandarin Oriental Resort in City Center.  I can't imagine having a kiln big enough for a 7 feet high sculpture.


Untitled (Volcano), 1983 by Jack Goldstein
Jack Goldstein's paitnings focus on imagery of natural phenomena, capturing the "spectacular instant," in this case, a volcanic eruption.  Goldstein is among the most influential postmodern artists of the 1970s and '80s and is widely recognized for his pioneering work in sound, film and painting.
I thought this piece was amazing.  It had a more contemporary/modern art feel, which normally isn't me, but I really enjoyed this piece.  It is housed on the 23 Sky Lobby of the Mandarin and as opulent as this piece is the view looking out the "sky lobby" is just as opulent.

 Rose II, 2007 by Isa Genzken
Isa Genzken's 26-foot rose sculpture rises delicately, infusing a sense of nature and beauty through the surrounding landscape and architecture.  Considered to be one of Germany's most prominent artists, Genzken's work ranges from sculpture to photography to painting that combines personal elements with references to architecture, modernism and art history.
This is a beautiful sculpture, but just felt like it belonged in a garden not in front of a shopping complex along Las Vegas BLVD.  Wonder what she thinks of the placement of her piece right on the strip?

Glacia Fountain in City Center
Galacia "cools" guests with large pillars of carved ice that rise as tall as 15 feet.  As each rises it is magically whittled into intricate patterns while mesmerizing spectral light contributes to a one-of -a-kind sensory experience. These ice sculptures were amazing.  I tried to take a picture of the information to explain further.


These weren't pieces on the tour, but to me they are definitely art work.  These awesome pumpkin sculptures were in the walkway through the City Center.  

The leaves, again not art work on the tour, but art to me when walking through and looking up at the ceiling of the City Center.  Felt like I was surrounded by the best parts of fall: colors, leaves, and pumpkins.


Halo Fountain in City Center
The unexpected nature of Halo's twisting water vortices, tipped as though about to fall, presents a sense of mystique for guests wandering among Crystals' lavish shops.  Stroll through, touch or embrace this maze of spinning water, all the while staying completely dry.
Very interesting and the "water tornadoes" were neat.

Tourterelle, 1997 by Francois-Xavier Lalanne
Best known for his bronze animal sculptures, Francois-Xavier Lalanne is one of the world's most original designer-sculptors.  Solo and with his wife, Claude, with whom he collaborated for the last half-century, Lalanne created sculptures that were reliably whimsical and witty.
These guys (there were two) were found on either side of the lobby doors when walking into the ARIA.  I felt like they were the "gatekeepers" to the Resort.  

Reclining Connected Forms, 1969-1974 by Henry Moore
English artist and sculptor Henry Moore was the most celebrated sculptor of  his time.  Inspired by the fundamentals of the human experience-the primary theme of his life's work- Moore's abstractions of the human figure usually depict mother and child or reclining forms.
Very cool sculptor that is found when you walk from ARIA to City Center Crystals.  It again reminds me of something that should be seen in a sculpture garden.   

Last but not least, this is a funny to end the art tour.  This time in Vegas the big thing were people were dressed up like characters and you could get your picture with them and put some money in their tip jars.  It reminded me of Disney Characters Lines, but just on the strip in Vegas.  The characters I saw during my stay: Spider Man, Hello Kitty, Minnie and Mickey, Caesar and Cleopatra, Ernie, Bert and Elmo, Bumble Bee Transformer, Optimus Prime Transformer, and ...
yep the Hangover Guy with Baby Carlos (he was everywhere and probably had the most tips in his jar).

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