Tag Archives: Las Vegas art

Economy-Busting $40,000 Motel Rooms in Las Vegas

A library with dark, wood-paneled walls and a bookcase filled with leather-bound books sits adjacent to a regal living room at Caesars Palace’s Octavius Tower. You’d almost forget you were in Las Vegas if not for the tanning pool patrons outside the window. 

The antique-looking books in the library are seldom used, but they add to the villa’s residential illusion. So does the formal dining room that seats 12 and the media room with movie theater-style seating. 

The centerpiece of each villa is the patio overlooking the pool area. The villas opened last fall, but the new Garden of the Gods pool just began to welcome summer visitors. 

The three massive villas are the newest suites at Caesars Palace. With nearly 10,000 square feet of space, they’re some of the most opulent and largest suites on the Las Vegas Strip. The villas are on the second floor of Caesars’ unfinished Octavius Tower and are part of the resort’s long line of over-the-top suites.

 From the private elevator to the 24-hour butler service, everything about the Octavius villas feels exclusive, including the price tag. The cost for a night is $40,000. The price isn’t recession-friendly, but their patrons aren’t exactly struggling in today’s economy. 

The Octavius villas feel more like miniature mansions than hotel suites. Caesars spent about $15 million on each villa – a total of $45 million – to accomplish that goal. The villas are a collection of eclectic furnishings and faux artifacts, giving the feel of a collector’s well-kept home. 

Wilson & Associates designed each suite with an individual identity — an opulent Grecian palace, an Old World Spanish home and a Parisian luxury apartment.

The design firm is responsible for other suites at Caesars, as well as the fantasy suites at the Palms and the rooms and lobby at The Venetian. 

At 9,930 square feet, the Greek-style villa, which Caesars Palace dubs “Constantine,” is the largest of the three. The four-bedroom villa is far from subtle, but it’s subtly Greek with its fake marble columns and terracotta painted vases. 

After stepping off the private elevator into the marble foyer of the Greek villa, guests will find a formal sitting room, a grand Steinway piano and working fireplace. On the other side of the hall are rooms with a pool table, a restaurant-sized bar and a theater. 

Down a long hallway there are four bedrooms, each the size of a large hotel room, with walk-in closets and their own bathrooms. With custom marble and mosaics, no two bathrooms in the three villas have the same stonework. 

Inside the Greek villa, the master suite’s bathroom is almost as large as the bedroom itself. The bathroom is covered in green and beige marble and features his and her toilets, sinks and vanities. It also has a steam shower, towel-warming racks and flat-screen TVs, among other amenities. A marble-topped tub with gold-plated fixtures is the centerpiece of the lavish master bath. 

As trivial as they seem, the toilets are often the talk of the suites.  They’re controlled by remotes, function as bidets, have heated seats and the lid opens as guests approach. There’s never a reason to touch the toilet seat. 

The villas are filled with quirks galore: mirrors that turn into TVs, pianos that play themselves and chairs that massage to the beat of an iPod’s song. A networked system allows the butler to control every device in the villa. 

Though the three villas have different design schemes, they have similar amenities. The French villa is light and airy. The Spanish villa is designed with distressed wood throughout the main rooms. 

Off each living room is the patio that overlooks the pools. Each patio includes a fire pit, dining table and a private Jacuzzi. 

The view of Flamingo Road is less impressive. Those views are reserved for penthouses and other suites higher than the pool level. The resort’s two 10,000-square-foot penthouses in the Forum Tower are still the largest suites at the resort. Caesars Palace now has 11 villas, 11 penthouses and about 200 suites.

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Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts in Las Vegas Leases Their Art

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston caused a tizzy of grand proportions six years ago when it leased 21 of its Monets to the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art for an undisclosed price. The art world shrieked with fists of rage while Boston museum director Malcolm Rogers asserted that partnering with a for-profit has its perks: extra money in the public coffers and promotional benefits. 

Five years later the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego leased 17 contemporary works to the Bellagio gallery, giving Las Vegas a look at works by Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Sol Lewitt, Andy Warhol and others. 

Call it a financial boost for public institutions or an ethical slap in the face. Either way, Las Vegas, one of few cities in the United States without a public art institution, is reaping museum-quality works. 

Now in a one-two punch both institutions are shipping off their works to the Bellagio gallery for Figuratively Speaking: A Survey of the Human Form opening May 1. 

The work spans from the 19th century to present day. Artists include Pierre-August Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Judith Shea and Yoshitomo Nara. Word has it that there will also be a Cindy Sherman coming in from the San Diego museum. 

Additionally, the MGM MIRAGE in Las Vegas is throwing in pieces from its own collection, including works by Renoir, Picasso, Edgar Degas and Fernand Leger.

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Emergency Art Comes to Rescue Las Vegas?

Sixth and Fremont may seem like an unlikely place for Las Vegas artists to congregate, and the El Cortez Casino may seem like an unlikely patron of the arts.  But the city’s growing supply of surplus real estate and downward spiraling financial vectors has opened up a budding entrepreneur opportunity reminiscent of SoHo in New York in the 60’s.   The business venture is called the Emergency Arts Creative Collective, Las Vegas’ latest contribution to the West Coast art scene. 

The El Cortez has a specific business need – increase foot traffic.  And the El Cortez also has an empty building just around the corner.  But opening another mini-mall collection of souvenir shops and yogurt bars won’t be enough to boost the number of Friday night slot players.  

What to do?  Why not take a page from the area South of Houston street in New York where, in the late 60’s, a dying bit of ill conceived government infrastructure that was turned into an art mecca of wide open spaces with great light and cheap rents.  The El Cortez is banking on it,  hoping that people will come to view exhibits and shop and then walk over to the casino for an evening’s entertainment.   

The local people behind the Emergency Arts are gallery owner Jennifer Harrington and her fiance Michael Cornthwaite, owner of the Downtown Cocktail Room.  “For a couple hundred dollars a month they [the artists] can have their own brick and mortar [location],” said Harrington. 

The Emergency Arts already has space rented to several artists, a vintage retailer, a coffee shop and a cafe.  On-site fixtures are being reused and recycled.  X-ray light panels will become part of a photographer’s display.  The large open sections of floor space, once the nurses stations and patient waiting areas, are being turned into general use display centers and communal meeting sights.  

“Part of the charm of this place are all the common areas, so people who rent very small spaces can come out here and use these bigger areas for meetings,” Harrington said. 

There’s a lot happening at Sixth and Fremont in Las Vegas now.  The April opening is just weeks away and more than 15 spots are still available for rent.  Those involved in the Emergency Arts Creative Collective are looking forward to introducing this artist venue to the Las Vegas community.  

Only time will tell if this is the beginning of a Vegas SoHo evolution.

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Las Vegas’ New Art Junkie Mecca?

Believe it or not, Las Vegas does have a Downtown Arts District.  Yesiree, and, not only that, but they are offering up a second showing of cultural artsy-fartsy festivities with the inauguration of Third Friday this Friday, Jan. 15, starting around 6 p.m., running until approximately midnight. 

Following the footsteps of the economically challenged First Friday, now Las Vegans have the added opportunity to browse art galleries, enjoy the bands and mingle amongst fellow art fanatics twice a month — doubling the pleasure and doubling the fun- if not immediate income to producers. 

Taking place on the same Las Vegas streets and benefiting the same cause, Third Friday may be similar to First Friday in many ways, but it’s projected to vary slightly. 

While Cindy Funkhouse, of the Funk House and Fallout galleries, runs the beginning of the month installment, Cion Noble of the Box Office gallery and venue is coordinating this middle-of-the-month run. 

Hans Cewe , one of the owners of the Gypsy Den — a vintage boutique and art gallery which also triples as a music venue — is happy to see the rise of another event to bring people Downtown Las Vegas, hoping thing will expand from there. 

The Gypsy Den, also run by Cewe’s daughter Katie, will be offering up it’s stage to local bands for the night, with the lineup so far including local acts Vitamin Overdose, Close to Modern and The Marquees. 

Third Friday’s main focus is not merely on the patrons it brings Downtown, but also on the various artists involved. 

“It’s basically going to be a networking opportunity for creative people,” says Noble. “The theme is to network… I don’t anticipate vendors and crafts in the first couple of months — I’d like to see it grow into something that’s similar to First Friday eventually.” 

The mix of “creative people” so far set to ring in Third Friday’s opening night at the Box Office includes Cameron Grant, rock and blues bands Black Cherry Blue, Flux and JD Vittles, as well as a comedy improv and musical open mic event hosted by LV Freeze. 

In keeping with the idea of supporting Las Vegas arts, Funkhouse isn’t viewing the second installment as a threat. Instead she’s offering her support, “merely as a participant,” and opening her galleries’ doors — although she says the art on the walls will be the same as what’s viewed the first weekend of the month. “It’s not practical to change our show out every two weeks, that’d be too much work,” explains Funkhouse. 

If Third Friday catches on, perhaps the struggling downtown Las Vegas can look forward to a more regular crowd. Who knows, maybe a little more culture in our Sin City lives, with good eats, is a good thing.

Here’s a map of area, showing central Box Office.

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Learn about Women’s Inner Desires in Las Vegas

Learning about what makes women tick is a tall order, but, perhaps, a visual study of related art might be a plan.  In celebration of Harlequin’s 60th anniversary, the internationally recognized publisher is sponsoring an exhibition of original cover art that will focus not only on the changing shape of desire and fantasy but also on the social meaning and context of these images. THE HEART OF A WOMAN: Harlequin Cover Art 1949—2009 debuts at the Paris Gallerie at the Paris in Las Vegas on Oct. 24, 2009 and will be on display until Jan. 31, 2010. Open to the public free of charge, the gallery is located just outside of the Paris reception area. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Harlequin

By presenting 60 years of cover artwork, the exhibition offers a unique insight into the profound transformations that have occurred in women’s lives over the past six decades.  These changes have been captured and reflected on the front of six decades worth of Harlequin novels and reflect cultural shifts in everything from private desires to the politics of gender. 

Although it is the stories of romance that charm the hearts of so many women, it is the artwork on the book covers that offers the first tantalizing hint of the pleasures that await between the covers. 

The show also spotlights some of the notable names who created these stirring pieces and how the artistic process itself has changed over the decades. 

More than a hundred original works of art will be displayed, from Harlequin’s beginnings in 1949 to the present day. 

Elizabeth Semmelhack is the curator of the exhibition.  She is also the head curator at a major museum in Toronto and, as an independent curator, she has curated exhibitions at the Museum of Sex in New York and the St. Louis Art Museum. She has also been a consultant to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Semmelhack is the author of “Heights of Fashion.” 

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in 28 languages and sold in 114 international markets. The company produces over 110 titles monthly and publishes more than 1,100 authors from around the world. 

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.  Harlequin’s Web site is located at http://www.eHarlequin.com. Harlequin has offices in 19 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information please visit www.eHarlequin.com.

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Silver Slipper Gets New Las Vegas Home

The famous neon slipper once sat atop of the historic Silver Slipper Gambling Hall, a part of the Last Frontier Village, a replica of an old western town that was once located on Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas.  

Silver Slipper neon signAlthough the Silver Slipper opened in 1950, the sign did not go up until the 1960s. The Last Frontier became the New Frontier, which was eventually absorbed into the Frontier. The slipper was designed by Jack Larsen, Sr., a designer at Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO). The sign is 12 feet high and 17 feet wide. The slipper’s main body contains 900 incandescent light bulbs, with about 80 more in the bow. 

The slipper is part of Las Vegas’ $1.1 million Neon Sign Improvement Project that includes three vintage neon signs placed in the heart of the Cultural Corridor.  It was refurbished and set into place on the median island of Las Vegas Boulevard, located just south of Washington Avenue in what is called the Cultural Corridor of Las Vegas by eight workers from Ultra Signs on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009 at approximately 11 p.m. after first being refurbished by Rafael Construction. 

The slipper is the last of three Las Vegas vintage signs to be set in place on the corridor, following the Bow & Arrow Motel sign set into place north of Bonanza on Aug. 24 and, a week later, by the installation of Binion’s Horseshoe sign north of Washington Avenue.  New landscaped median islands are also being installed. 

City crews will now work to provide power and conduct a series of tests prior to the signs being officially put into service. 

The cultural corridor is made up of the highest concentration of cultural institutions in Las Vegas and includes Cashman Center, the Las Vegas Library, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, The Neon Museum, the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park and the Reed Whipple Cultural Center.

Please watch the video of the installation:

http://video214.com/play/0IFyBBBcRJhslXBK3V5KOw/s/dark/

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Andy Warhol is Dead- but His Pop Art Show Makes Las Vegas Debut

For the first time ever, Andy Warhol and Steve Kaufman, his protégé student and assistant, are having a Pop Art Show onAndyWarhol July 4th in Las Vegas.  It’s at the Fashion Show Mall main level, next door to the Bebe store at 3200 Las Vegas Boulevard.

Centaur Art Galleries will host the art work of Andy Warhol, who passed away in 1987, and that of his former assistant, Steve Kaufman, who will be at the exhibition of the “Master” and his “student,” reunited at last and exhibited together, at Centaur Art Galleries’ most ambitious undertaking in more than 20 years.

SteveKaufmanSteve Kaufman has painted numerous famous celebrity paintings, inlcluding Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, President Obama, Elvis, Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, U2, Janet Jackson, Al Pacino, Muhammad Ali, Oscar De La Hoya, Cuban Cigars, Andy Warhol, Picasso, Dali, Van Gogh, Campbell soup, Red Bull, Coca Cola, Liz Taylor, Brad Pitt, Superman, Spiderman, John Gotti Godfather, Scarface, Sopranos, Las Vegas sign, Playboy girl next door, Donald Trump, Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle, Madonna, and John Travolta.

For further information, please contact 702-737-1234 or log on to: www.centaurgalleries.com/

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