Boulders for "Seven Magic Mountains" are selected from the region and dubbed "locally-sourced." Photo: Nevada Museum of Art.
FIELD NOTES: "Seven Magic Mountains," the temporary public art installation by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone that will be installed and displayed for two-years near Jean Dry Lake, had a Special Use Permit request approved by Clark County. Other paperwork is expected to be completed over the summer. Co-produced by New York’s Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, the large-scale work of seven 25 to 30-foot high totems are made of boulders, local rocks only, painted in DayGlo colors. "Seven Magic Mountains" is currently under construction in Las Vegas.
Sales of left over parts, shaped into new works, will support Justin Favela's fall artist residency in Mexico.
Latino pop culture went for a cross-country joy ride and came back. Another piece sat in the Clark County Rotunda. Now the cardboard and paper parts from those works by Justin Favela were culled to make new pieces, like small-scale low riders in colors like baby blues and flamingo pinks, and mini Selena signatures dipped in glitter. . . . Large sections were properly displayed on the wall, sharing space with an even larger Selena banner and paper tires. In the middle of the shop, an intact side panel from a low rider truck attracted gallery goers who knew how to use it for a photo-op, and hit a cholo pose. . . . When you walked in the storefront that housed “Chop Shop," it was such an immersive installation that when you saw the ice chest, one almost expected to open it and find cardboard cylinders wrapped in decorative tissue to look like cans of beer. No tricks in there. There were actually cans of cold Buds. Still, for a “Chop Shop” on a downtown Main Street, a filled ice chest with beer is an authentic detail.
Pseudo piñata of life-sized lowriders are having a fitting end in “Chop Shop.”
Gallery-goer taking in the visual wit of "Chop Shop."
Spare piñata paper and parts in a corner of "Chop Shop."
Playing off commercial typography the metal door signage for "Chop Shop" could be considered part of the installation.
"Selena" next to tires at Justin Favela's "Chop Shop."
The 18b wall as it appeared on April 13, 2015.
On average I'll stalk for 18b street art at least every other week. I am rarely disappointed and something new usually appears from the artists I called Tricksters in an January post. The work does get invaded by sloppy tags, but by being cleaned up and restored by locals as best as possible, an artistic intent is defended. The work has its guardians. This street art is a Las Vegas reflection of what conceptual text-based and multimedia artist John Fekner said in his forward for “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti” by Rafael Schacter. Fekner wrote:
“For the first time in history, artists who are creating art away from the major centers of art and culture are no longer at a disadvantage. The Internet has increased accessibility through the proliferation of blogs and social media, which has fueled hordes of dedicated fan bases using cell phones and cameras to instantly record, document, and post their interpretations of life, culture, and art online.”
For now, Las Vegas street art in the 18b may be showing how there is a difference between an egocentric tag and intricate application of illustrations that is a direct comment, or adds satire or whimsy to a creative neighborhood. Art is the message, not the messenger.
As for the word public art and how it applies to street art, Schacter told me in an interview in 2013 he prefers the term “ Independent Public Art” or “Informal Public Art.” Then there is UNLV art professor Pasha Rafat, who leans away from the term Public Art altogether. He uses the term “Art in Public Space” for works seen outside of traditional galleries that's a response to direct environment.
With that, here’s a round of some of the Independent Art in Public Space seen in 18b in first half of 2015.
Artists requesting full credit can email information to edfuentes (@) paintthisdesert.com
Additional street art resource is the diligent and dangerous LostVaugueUs.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.