Sunday, November 17, 2013

Culture-Hunting in Vegas

I recently went to Las Vegas for the first time for a brief escape from reality. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I heard from many sources that it's a crazy, over-the-top sort of place. When I arrived, I saw many countries simultaneously in linear fashion. It wasn't fathomable to see Siam, Egypt, and New York all nestled on the famous Strip practically side by side. And yet, in Vegas, I suppose anything is possible. It's a place for bachelorettes, spring-breakers, gawkers, big-spenders, heavy drinkers, those who are down and out, those who are holding onto big hopes, and those who are holding onto wild dreams as well. Sure. But art and culture? 
Then I remembered there was a fairly large Dale Chihuly piece in the main lobby at one of them. Oh yes, that would be the Bellagio. It was a must-see for any art lover. And it was fantastic! Colored pools of glass swirl above your head like thousands of jellyfish. It was larger than life; practically the size of a 2 lane regulation-size swimming pool. Impressive. 
Later that evening, I enjoyed a glass of wine under the watchful eyes of about fifteen Picassos as I overlooked the choreographed fountain show on the main drag. What a combination. And what a spectacle! I was lured even further into the Wynn art collection by a video ad for a recent acquisition at his other property, the elegantly styled Wynn Hotel. It was a Jeff Koons piece entitled simply, "Tulips". I asked a couple of staff members who were strolling through the endless aisles of slot machines about where this piece was located. They chuckled a little, telling me that those tulips cost millions of dollars, I better go see them and make sure I enjoy them! In New York Magazine, I recently read that this work of art cost $33.7M to be exact. Vegas is a crazy place indeed.

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