Sample 5: Art Exhibit Review

12 + 7: Artists and Architects of CityCenter

Twelve contemporary art works and seven architects’ plans encompass the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art’s newest exhibit, 12 + 7: Artists and Architects of CityCenter, a celebration and showcase of the monumental collaborative process and artistic enhancement of Las Vegas’ biggest construction project to date, the massive CityCenter.

Armed with an audio wand that describes and details the pieces on view, visitors are invited to indulge their creative curiosity and challenge themselves with the intellectualism of modern art. Among the twelve art pieces, visitors find an intriguing variety of artistic media, including bronze, cast silver, paper, painting and acrylic sculpture, which are slated to become permanent features in CityCenter’s Fine Art Collection and will be housed in and around CityCenter or even affixed on the Strip.

One such piece is Tony Cragg’s bronze sculpture Constructor, which presents viewers with a study of seemingly contrasting forces. The abstract work embodies outwardly opposing qualities: solidity and fluidity, organic and artificial, masculine and feminine. The cryptic nature of the piece entices viewers to decipher and discover their own interpretations.


Moving on through the exhibit, even novices will recognize the work of Claes Oldenburg, whose playful pop art sculpture adorns public spaces throughout the world. Two such works, Typewriter Eraser and Knife Ship, are slated to occupy CityCenter, both approachable and accessible to art neophytes as Oldenburg presents everyday objects artistically rendered in humorously large scale.

Perhaps the most engaging work is Jenny Holzer’s luminous installation of four electronic LED signs, Four Corner: Truisms, Living, which cycle through a synchronized litany of the celebrated word artist’s many “truisms,” or philosophical observations and wisdom. An undeniably engaging piece, the installation captivates as running messages confront viewers with contemplative copy. Onlookers can’t help but linger to read witticisms that declare Vegas-themed truisms like “Playing it safe can cause a lot of damage in the long run”…an appropriate philosophy for any casino patron, as well as “Often you should act like you are sexless.”

Don’t fancy yourself the artsy type? 12 + 7 offers any Vegas enthusiast the opportunity to observe the architectural evolution that takes place during the conception, construction and completion of a modern Sin City mega resort. The “7” of 12 + 7 refers to seven cutting-edge architects, each of whose vision we find uniquely realized in the development of the various structures of CityCenter. From the seven, which include the architectural firms of Pelli Clarke Pelli, Foster + Partners and the Rockwell Group among others, visitors may survey the designers’ simple conceptual studies and minimalist sketches, as well as highly detailed diagrams and three-dimensional models of the properties of CityCenter. Of particular interest is the varying technique and perspective of the renderings including illustrations of The Harmon Hotel, ARIA, Vdara and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, as well as the Veer Towers and Crystals.

The small number of works in this pleasantly brief exhibit truly allows visitors to fully study and contemplate each piece, or simply to appreciate the dynamic creations on a purely aesthetic level. Guests needn’t be intimidated by the modernist artworks on display. Rather, 12 + 7 presents the often underappreciated artistic side of Las Vegas, offering visitors a stimulating cultural detour from the neon and naughtiness of the Strip, as well as whetting our appetites for the anxiously anticipated opening of the showy and spectacular CityCenter.

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