Thursday

Daytrip – CityCenter Fine Art Collection

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City Center Buildings
(Fig. 01)
CityCenter Fine Art Collection: CityCenter itself is a $9.2 billion dollar, 16,797,000-square-foot mixed-use, urban complex on 76 acres located on the Las Vegas Strip that was once the largest single construction site in the world. Completed in 2009, it houses Aria, a 4,004 Resort & Casino; Crystals, a 500,000 square foot retail and entertainment district; Mandarin Oriental, a 392 room hotel; Vdara, a 1,495 room hotel-condo tower; Veer Towers, two 37-story condominium towers; and The Harmon (Fig. 01). It is so big, it is impossible to capture a single show of all its building without using aerial photography. While its architecture can be considered a work of art on its own, there are dozens of art pieces located inside and around its stunning exterior. These paintings, sculptures and large-scale installations, collectively called the CityCenter Fine Art Collection, are the first major permanent art collection in Las Vegas to be included in a public space. It includes works by more than a dozen acclaimed artists and sculptors including Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, Nancy Rubins, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Frank Stella, Henry Moore and Richard Long, among others.
                              
CC Fine Art Tour Map
(Fig. 02)
CC Fine Art Tour Map-2
(Fig. 03)
01/12/2015 Visit Notes: My friend Jim Herring and I decided to take a walking tour of the CityCenter Fine Art Collection. There are two ways to find your way around; download a PDF Walking Tour Brochure [CityCenter Fine Arts Brochure](Figs. 2 & 3) or download the CityCenter Fine Art Collection app. The brochure shows both a full tour and a shortened 45-minute tour (Fig. 3), depending upon how much time you have. There are fifteen giant works of art and about 10 smaller, lesser works scattered throughout its 67 acres, making the viewing experience, without the benefit of signs, something like wandering through a private, eclectic estate. Either way plan on doing a fair amount of walking. Unfortunately, the weather was quite raw and windy on today’s visit and we decided to cut our tour short and come back another day for more. Here are pictures and a brief description for some of the works that I photographed on today’s visit as well as some from a previous visit back in March of 2010. The works below are listed in no particular order and are numbered according to the Walking Tour Map above.
                                         
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(Fig. 04)
(#15) Nancy Rubin's - "Big Edge", 2009 - Harmon Circle at CityCenter: Perhaps one of the largest and certainly most colorful works is Nancy Rubin’s “Big Edge”(Fig. 04). She is a sculptor and artisan that is famous for her grandiose works created from salvaged and industrial consumer goods. With the creation of "Big Edge", she has created a colorful composition of numerous aluminum rowboats, canoes and other small river and ocean vessels finessed into an eye-catching, gravity-defying form the artist calls “a blooming flower.”  At 51 x 75 x 57 feet, these stainless steel and aluminum water vessels, sitting in a traffic circle behind Aria it is cantilevered over Vdara’s main drive. I feel that it is one of the most visually stunning commissions at CityCenter. The boats are connected with thousands of pounds of stainless steel wire cable that forms a web-like structure. Each of the nearly 200 canoes were precisely placed according to Rubins’ direction based on its color, shape and structural contribution to the whole. Each of the reclaimed craft are showcased in the piece exactly as originally found. The commission is located on the exterior of Vdara Hotel & Spa and is one of Rubins’ few works with a permanent home.
                                                  
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(Fig. 05)
(#2) Maya Lin’s – “Silver River” 2009, ARIA Hotel & Casino Registration Desk:  Maya is considered one of the most important artists of the 21st century. Her remarkable body of work maintains a careful balance between art and architecture, including many large-scale, site-specific installations, intimate studio artworks and architectural works and memorials.  She became famous for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and is well known for contemporary land sculptures and interior art installations that encourage environmental consciousness. The concept of the sculpture came from the spirit of CityCenter’s commitment to sustainability. ARIA is the world’s largest hotel to achieve a LEED Gold rating. Lin's “Silver River” sculpture (Fig. 05) was inspired by the boundaries and topography of the Colorado River as it carves the western desert landscape of the United States. It weighs 3,700 pounds, hangs from steel cables, slants horizontally and swells at two points of its winding journey - at Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Topographic steps provide a sense of volume to the body of water. In light of Nevada’s standing as “The Silver State,” Lin cast her creation in reclaimed silver. Elegant, graceful and floating before a panoramic window, it provokes contemplation. She had been quoted as saying, “I’m asking people to take a look at the natural world around them. You want to get people to think of rivers as an entire ecosystem. You want to talk about a river as a volume of water, as an object rather than a ‘flow.’ ”
                                                   
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(Fig. 06)
(#18) Doze Green – “Crossroads of Humanity”, 2009 - Bellagio and Monte Carlo Tram Station: Doze speaks in a unique creative voice from the collective consciousness-applying a symbolist approach to metaphysical concepts. His urban background and involvement in the early hip-hop/graffiti movement of NYC in the late 70’s, early 80’s, led him to transition from creating art in the streets and subways into the gallery setting. Green’s signature aesthetic combines stylized letterform and figurative abstraction. Using an art of mediums such as link, gouache, and metallic pigments with an evolved, organic cubist quality to his high-contrast fluid line work. The artist’s genealogy inspires many of the themes explored therein, influenced by ancient civilizations and indigenous cultures, including his own Afro-Caribbean roots. The totem-like human and animal figures in "Crossroads of Humanity" (Fig. 06) are conceptually based on various polytheistic deities. There divinities represent sentinel guardians of universal truths, immortal warriors warning mankind of the dangers contemporary society has manifested, looming on the horizon and threatening to destroy us.
                                        
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(Fig. 07)
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(Fig. 08)
(#6) Tony Cragg - “Bolt” 2007, “Bent of Mind” 2008, “Untitled” (Tall Column) 2008, - ARIA self-park Entry Lobby: On the northwest side of CityCenter’s Aria, near an escalator leading to the parking garage, are three polished metal sculptures that look like pooling streams suspended in midair. As a poet uses words on a page, sculptor Tony Cragg uses materials to search for new meaning, resulting in a grounded “poetry” that is at once rational and powerfully ethereal. Located within ARIA’s Self-Park Entry Lobby atrium are Cragg’s three towering columns - “Bolt” (Fig. 07), “Bent of Mind” and “Untitled” (Fig. 08) - that exemplify how the sculptor uses a material such as stainless steel to its fullest extent, pushing its boundaries while creating exceedingly graceful works of art with substantial presence. “Bolt,” a 10-foot-high stainless steel sculpture, swirls upward from its narrow base in an imaginative bolt of lightning; “Bent of Mind” gives the illusion of an elegant silhouette of a face, as do many of his other works; and “Untitled” (tall column) presents a smooth, curving dialogue. Cragg has been the recipient of numerous distinguished awards, including the Turner Prize (1988), Shakespeare Prize (2001) and Piepenbrock Prize for Sculpture (2002). His biomorphic, sculptural forms investigate the physics of materials, and spark a dialogue between man, material and the world.
                                         
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(Fig. 09)
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(Fig. 10)
(#1) Henry Moore - “Reclining Connected Forms” 1969-1974, In The Park between ARIA and Crystals: Henry Moore is one of the most celebrated sculptors of his time. Inspired by the fundamentals of the human experience - the primary theme of his life’s work - the sculpture (Figs. 09 & 10), made from Roman travertine marble, measures approximately 10 feet tall and 17 feet long by 7 feet deep, represents a baby wrapped in its mother’s embrace. The graceful outer shell of the sculpture depicts the changing shape of a pregnant figure as it protects the new life growing within. Moore’s work was traditionally inspired by the human body, organic shapes found in nature and the sculpture of ancient and exotic cultures such as Egypt, Sumeria, Africa and pre-Columbian Mexico. Surrealism, the modern European art and literary movement with a tendency toward abstract forms, also was a major influence. Moore was given his first major retrospective abroad in 1946 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He won the International Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1948.
                                          
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(Fig. 11)
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(Fig. 12)
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(Fig. 13)
(#4, #10 & #11) WET – “Focus” – ARIA Portico, “Glacia” & “Halo” Inside Crystals: These are three of WET’s five water features created especially for CityCenter. WET is a company that has a long history with MGM Resorts International's more animated developments, such as the Fountains of Bellagio and The Mirage Volcano, the company was commissioned to create experiential features in a completely different manner than ever before.

Along Aria’s outer entrance circle rises Focus (Fig. 11), an expansive, 270-foot-long, 24 foot tall, curved water wall made of highly textured gray slate tiles from India that are shaped in a diamond cut. Focus emphasizes the ever-changing, choreographed patterns that effortlessly sweep across the immense length and height of the wall. The fountain is completely programmable and the engineers can control the speed and direction that the water runs. The water falls into a pool at the bottom that is only an eighth of an inch deep.The all-enveloping water flow creates an ocean-like timbre that calms the area leading to ARIA’s lobby.

At the entrance to Crystals, Glacia (Fig. 12) is a feature that includes 13 large pillars of carved ice that emerge from a pool of water. As each column rises from the control room below, it is carved into a different pattern, which means the feature will never look the same twice. The highest column rises 15 feet and the columns can be one to two feet in diameter. A chilled rod inside the column keeps the ice frozen for long periods of time and once they are melted, a new column is frozen, which can take up to 13 hours. WET can control how clear the ice is depending on how much air is blown into it, resulting in ice that is sometimes crystal clear and sometimes crackled or a frosty white. As each ice monument rises, it is carved at water level into intricate, three-dimensional patterns. Colored lighting combines with the varied ice clarities -- sometimes crystal clear, sometimes frosty white-- to produce a visual experience that never repeats itself.

Halo (Fig. 13) materializes as a series of spinning vortices of water held captive within clear cylinders that thrust up through the floor. There are 20 above-ground tubes and 30 windows underfoot that allow people to watch the water underneath. The lighting on the feature changes colors and was designed to allow people to be able to walk through and get an up-close view of the water. Sloped, as though about to fall, the swirling water appears caught in constant struggle to right itself with its inherent sense of verticality. These swirls of color serve as a main focal point of the atrium.
                                                
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(Fig. 14)
Robert Rauschenberg - "Lucky Dream", 1999 - Vdara’s lobby: Over the course of his career he created a wide variety of early works that anticipated the pop art movement. By 1962, his paintings were beginning to incorporate not only found objects but found images as well, transferred to canvas by means of the silkscreen process. Silk-screening allowed him to address the multiple reproducibility of images, and the consequent flattening of experience that implies. In this respect, his work is contemporaneous with that of Andy Warhol. Rauschenberg is frequently cited as an important forerunner of American Pop Art. Also a noted photographer, he utilized his own photography in these silkscreen works, taken during a lifetime of travels. His technique of juxtaposing disconnected images with distinctive character presents what the artist has self-described as working with the “gap between art and life.” On loan from Bellagio, LLC. Rauschenberg's 'Lucky Dream’ (Fig. 14) features found images such as a trophy, Asian cranes and tigers and the Sistine Chapel.