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A Las Vegas Gamble

Revitalizing the arts community.

The stakes are high in Las Vegas, and hotels and casinos pull out all the stops to produce such a spectacle. The numbers alone are staggering: 4,760 eggs served on average at Café Bellagio daily; upward of 1,000 towels used every day during the aquatic performance Le Rêve—The Dream at the Wynn. The cost of the FleurBurger 5000 from Fleur by Hubert Keller at Mandalay Bay? Yes, $5,000.

The statistics of the art world in Vegas, however, are surprising for different reasons. Two Guggenheim museums—both designed by Rem Koolhaas—opened in 2001, but have since closed. The Las Vegas Art Museum and Contemporary Arts Center suffered the same end. It’s not all ill-fated, though. Mainstays, like the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, continue to attract visitors with exhibitions showcasing works by Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

A bold new venture called the Modern, a contemporary art museum, is set to open in 2018, nestled in the new 18b Arts District in downtown Las Vegas. The $29-million (U.S.) project will host travelling exhibitions of works from the early 1900s to the present day in galleries spanning nearly 3,300 square metres. The space will also include a rooftop garden and sculpture courtyard. “Art shouldn’t be within four white walls,” says the Modern’s chairman, Brett Sperry.

While this new museum may be a gamble, Sperry and a dedicated community are bringing dialogue and development to an industry that deserves it.

Renderings provided by AssemblageStudio.