Tag Archives: museums

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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Las Vegas Does the Egyptian

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum in downtown Las Vegas is celebrating a milestone thousands years in the making.  Last Saturday, Jan. 30, the Museum opened a new permanent exhibit called The Treasures of Egypt, which features nearly 500 reproduced artifacts including the tomb of the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun. 

The exhibit, located in the museum’s new 4,000-square-foot Egyptian Pavilion expansion, provides a glimpse into the ancient past of Egyptian civilization. It features replicas generously donated by MGM Mirage that were formerly on display in the King Tut Museum & Tomb inside the Luxor Las Vegas, including the world-famous guardian statues, King Tut’s sarcophagus and an array of statues, vases, baskets and pottery. The Museum was able to recreate the tomb of King Tut as discovered by Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in 1922. This unique replica of the actual tomb is the only known exhibit of its kind outside of Egypt. 

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is located at 900 North Las Vegas Boulevard. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for students, seniors and military and $5 for children ages 3-11. Children age 2 and under are free. Admission includes access to the entire Museum, including the new exhibit. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

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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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Fine Art of CityCenter Artists, Architects on Exhibit at Bellagio in Las Vegas

Sadly, with most of the fine art style of Las Vegas museums closing up shop– Las Vegas culture — including the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum at the Venetian and Las Vegas Art Museum, and lesser robust ones opening by appointment only, it’s refreshing to know the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is apparently still going strong. 

Tomorrow, in fact, the Bellagio Gallery is debuting 12+7: Artists and Architects of CityCenter.   Organized in partnership with the CityCenter Fine Art Collection and its curatorial advisor Michele C. Quinn, the exhibition will feature sculpture, drawings, paintings and models by 12 of the contemporary artists and seven of the master architects whose work will dramatically change the artistic landscape in Las Vegas when the $9.1 billion, 76-acre CityCenter opens in December (please search for other articles using “CityCenter” in Las Vegas Backstage Access). 

The art exhibition will offer a sneak peek at the highly anticipated CityCenter development, showcasing artwork by such artists as Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, Antony Gormley, Tony Cragg, Nancy Rubins, Peter Wegner and Richard Long. 

Also included are early sketches and architectural models of CityCenter’s towers, retail and the entertainment district designed by architects Pelli Clarke Pelli, Helmut Jahn, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Rafael Vinoly, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Foster + Partners and Rockwell Group. 

Admission is $15 for general admission, $12 for Nevada residents and seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students, teachers and military with valid ID.  Children 12 and younger are free.  Tickets and further information by calling 702-693-7871 or online at www.bellagio.com

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‘Mafia Princess’ Plans Las Vegas Museum

Former mob lawyer and now Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has added competition for his planned $50 million downtown mob museum.  It comes from none other than the daughter of murdered Chicago mob chief Sam Giancana, Antoinette Giancana, who is also now planning a mob shrine. 

Giancana, 74, was in Las Vegas over the weekend at Capo’s restaurant on Sahara Ave. for a meeting with backers of the proposed museum, Las Vegas investors Jay Bloom and Charlie Sandefur, who reportedly are in negotiations with Las Vegas Strip properties for their joint business venture. AntoinetteGiancana

She’s moving to Las Vegas this summer to take a hands-on role in the project and is excited about “following in the shadow of [her dad’s] footsteps.” 

Her father controlled the Chicago mob in the late 1950s and 1960s and was killed at his Chicago home on June 19, 1975, four days before her birthday. 

Some say Las Vegas hit man Tony Spilotro was the top suspect for her father’s death, but she is convinced the culprits were the CIA.   

In 1984 Giancana wrote a book titled “Mafia Princess,” that was a made-for-TV movie in 1986, starring Susan Lucci as Giancana and Tony Curtis – currently a Henderson, Nevada resident – playing her father. 

Then, in 2005, she co-wrote the book, “JFK and Sam:  The Connection Between the Giancana and Kennedy Assassinations,” which made the case that her father ordered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

The exhibit is “going to be a first,” Giancana said.  Bloom, she said, is “bringing in millions of dollars [worth of stuff] from various [crime] families that have never, ever been seen” by the public.

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Nevada Gets $21 Million Gift — for a Science Museum!

With business bankruptcies, closures and layoffs predominate in the news, it’s refreshing to learn that Henderson City Council in Nevada has transferred funds last week from the sale of city land to help spur development of the science museum on a 160-acre site on U.S. Highway 95 near Russell Road.  

It’s a dream come true for Henderson, with talks about building a museum a leading topic for the past 15 years. 

The money is considered a gift to the Henderson Space and Science Center Board, which was formed by the city earlier this year to oversee the nonprofit corporation that will plan and run the attraction. 

The $21 million gift comes from the city’s land fund, which can be used only for capital improvements or the acquisition of property, buildings, furniture and equipment. 

Several years ago the land was to be a spring training facility for a Major League Baseball team that never came to pass.

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Liberace Show, Museum & Foundation Sparkles in Las Vegas

As the promotion of Las Vegas culture continues to be challenged, with many museums closing or facing severe budget cuts, the Liberace Museum continues to weather the economic storm.  In fact, it’s just celebrated its 30th anniversary. liberace1

Liberace’s fan popularity continues to soar.  A new show titled Liberace: The Man, The Music & The Memories has been announced for Broadway this fall. The musical will recreate the experience of a Liberace concert in a Las Vegas show room. The musician and comedian Wayland Pickard has been cast in the leading role. 

Liberace opened his museum in 1979, three years after establishing his Liberace Foundation for helping students of the arts.  All proceeds from the museum still support the foundation’s mission.  So far, 2,500 scholars have received $5.2 million in awards. 

Over the years, the museum hasn’t changed much.  And though his fans are aging, still about 50,000 people tour the Liberace Museum daily, says museum director Tanya Combs.  Featuring his cars, pianos, clothes, and jewels, the people who come through the doors watched Liberace on television, saw him in concert, or just heard the museum in a fun attraction, she adds. 

Then there are those people who know Liberace, with his bejeweled costumes, larger-than-life jewelry and penchant for flashy shows- the kin of Las Vegas kitsch. 

Liberace performed in Las Vegas for the first time in 1944, playing the piano at the Las Frontier Hotel.  He dubbed himself Mr. Showmanship in 1956 during an engagement at the Riviera, and make Las Vegas his official residence.  

Liberace represented a style of entertainment that became the very essence and embodiment of the City of Entertainment.

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