Gone are the days where the only options on the Las Vegas Strip were gambling, eating buffet food, and attending a show. Now the boulevard is full of luxury hotels, fine dining establishments, high end shopping and art. Yes, art. In this special edition of Luxe Lodgings, contributor Angela Fairhurst discovers CityCenter, the first major permanent collection of art in Las Vegas.
Integrated into public spaces for free, the CityCenter art concept exposes the public to fine art on both a visual and intellectual level. CityCenter is a 76-acre mixed-use urban complex located on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip. The MGM Resorts property encompasses the Aria Hotel, Vdara, Delano, Mandarin Oriental, The Bellagio, and the shops at Crystal. Art is everywhere—in the walkways, lobbies, and hotels (both indoors and out) with displays including paintings, massive installations, and sculptures.
Aria Resort & Casino is a luxury hotel built in 2009 with technologically advanced rooms and suites, five-star service and 16 world-class restaurants. Suspended over Aria’s registration desk is a piece from Maya Lin, considered one of the most important artists of the 21st century. “Silver River” is inspired by the boundaries and topography of the Colorado River carved into the desert landscape. At 84 feet long, it is cast in reclaimed silver and weighs about 3,700 pounds. In the Aria self-park Entry Lobby are three stainless steel sculptures from Tony Cragg called “Bolt,” “Bent of Mind,” and an Untitled “Tall Column.” Cragg uses materials to “search for new meaning, resulting in a grounded ‘poetry’ that is at once rational and powerfully ethereal.” The Aria’s Mezzanine Level has an eight-foot-tall sculpture by Antony Gormley titled “Feeling Material XXVIII,” in which the artist reinvents the human form. Using spiraling steel, Gormley represents the silhouette of the human body and visually conveys the physical space it occupies at the center of an orbiting field.
As you exit Aria’s North Entrance via the valet, you’ll encounter “VEGAS,” by Jenny Holzer, which displays an LED panel wall with thought-provoking phrases.
Inside the restaurant Carbone, you can find a Julian Shnable portrait of Christopher Walken.
Vdara Hotel & Spa is an all-suites hotel and spa located across from Aria Resort & Casino. Upon entering Vdara’s main drive, one can’t help but notice the 51 x 75 x 57 foot colorful sculpture by Nancy Rubins titled “Big Edge.” Created from salvaged aluminum rowboats, canoes, and other small river and ocean vessels, the boats are connected with thousands of pounds of stainless steel wire cable forming a web-like structure.
Frank Stella’s 1969 work, “Damascus Gate Variation I” is a fluorescent alkyd resin on canvas suspended over Vdara’s reception desk. The concierge lobby has two large wall pieces from Peter Wegner, “Day for Night, Night for Day” made of paper. One is solar-themed and one lunar-themed, represented on the east and west walls in the lobby to correspond with the rising and setting of the sun. A hanging light sculpture designed by Wegner is suspended between the pieces to encourage a dialogue between them.
Delano Las Vegas combines the signature Delano South Beach style with elements of the Mojave Desert. Upon arrival into the hotel, you will discover desert inspiration as you walk between a 126,000-pound boulder that was carefully and painstakingly divided in half. The installation acts as a decompression chamber, encouraging you to pass through the divided boulder and transition into a serene environment. Beyond the large boulder is another striking piece of stone artwork, albeit one on a smaller scale. At the end of a corridor leading to the reception area is an installation consisting of several hundred small rocks suspended on vertical floor-to-ceiling steel cables.
The Park, a central gathering outdoor area on The Strip’s west side connecting the new 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena, New York-New York, and the Monte Carlo resorts, showcases Bliss Dance. It’s a 40-foot-tall sculpture of a dancing woman created by artist Marco Cochrane, inspired by the artist’s first experience at Burning Man. Weighing more than 7,500 pounds, the dancer’s form achieves lightness and momentum through ingenious structural engineering using triangulated geodesic struts.
Inside, Henry Moore’s “Reclining Connected Forms” (1969) is a Roman travertine marble sculpture inspired by the fundamentals of human experience. This piece represents a baby wrapped in its mother’s arms. Adding a touch of whimsy to the journey from the Mandarin to ARIA, the Crystals Place has the Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen piece “Typewriter Eraser, Scale.” Weighing four tons, and at 19 feet, this legendary sculpture of stainless steel and fiberglass exemplifies the pair’s classic approach to creating large-scale outdoor sculptures from everyday commercial objects.
Instagrammed almost as much as its famous fountains, Dale Chihuly’s piece welcomes visitors with 2,000 colorful hand-blown glass blossoms hanging high above the lobby. The Bellagio has two paintings by Pablo Picasso hanging in Chef Julian Serrano’s Picasso Restaurant. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is a museum inside the Bellagio Hotel that opened in 1998 decorated with Steve Wynn’s personal art collection. Art exhibits rotate and there is an entrance fee.
A couple of miles outside of Las Vegas is a temporary piece sponsored by MGM Resorts dubbed “Seven Magic Mountains.” The installation, often likened to a colorful Stonehenge, is from internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. It is one of the largest land-based installations completed in 40 years—taking over five years from conception to completion.
For more information about hotels with unique art and design, check out:
- Unique Art in Hotels Around the World
- 8 Hotel Lobbies With Distinct Style & Personality
- International Hotels that are Part of History
By Angela Fairhurst for PeterGreenberg.com