THINK AND RINK: Near downtown Las Vegas, where some mid-century homes are converted for commercial use, there was a Friday night contemporary art connection with different vibes. The MFA Fine Art Auction at MCQ Fine Art wore a dignified air of gallery chat and wine to encourage silent bidding at the annual fundraising. Down the street was "ROLL," a Contemporary Arts Center pop-up exhibition that was a 1970s-era ruckus of art and PBRs responding to regional roller rink culture (and the first curated show by arts reporter Kristen Peterson). Throughout the night art locals were seen going clockwise, then counterclockwise, between the two venues.
OSCAR SEASON: Like last year, Los Angeles street artist Plastic Jesus piggybacked on Oscar hoopla to send an anti-drug message. His life-sized Oscar statue on hands and knees snorting coke on Hollywood Boulevard in the days leading up to the Academy Awards was fiberglass commentary on show business party culture. It had so much coverage, the artist had a wave of inquiries from PR firms begging to take him on as a client I CNN and many more.
R.I.P. Raul Rodriguez: He was 71 and known for being the most awarded designer of over 500 floats for the Tournament of Roses Parade, his first as a contest winner in 1960 as a high school student. He also designed the brash pink neon facade of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas and the 22-story clown that front’s the Circus Circus hotel and casino in Reno. “Mr. Rodriguez was classically trained in drawing and painting, but when it came to pageantry he might just as well have been inspired by Oscar Wilde’s credo that nothing succeeds like excess,” wrote The New York Times.
TRIBE: In Phoenix , Arizona, Dwayne Manuel is a recent UA MFA grad and a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, one of the four federally recognized O’odham tribes. Manuel's art has been getting attention for the way it brings together “ traditional imagery with more contemporary ideas.” You can see graffiti influences reinterpreting the weave from O’odham baskets in a Nike line called Desert Journey. Tucson I Arizona Daily Star
WATER AND LIGHT: Scottsdale Arizona is making good use of water, light, and art with Canal Convergence. Randy Walker writes about his part of the project that dictates "our selection of color and work intuitively, paying close attention to the way the colors interacted with each other once in the sunlight. It would be an orchestrated process of managing materials, people, and time." His Canal Convergence installation is titled Spring Crossing:
FEAR OF BILLBOARDS: Daniel R. Small's New Mexico installation on billboards curated by LAND, mentioned at the previous INK AND LINK, have made locals skittish. The indecipherable glyphs were accused of being the work of terrorists or Satanic messages. More at Hyperallergic.
BIG TICKET ITEM: On a few days in May, the Roden Crater, the unfinished land art by James Turrell, will be the destination for “serious patrons of the arts,” according to an invitation reported by ArtNews. The cost is a $5,000 donation to Turrell’s nonprofit organization that supports the project. Details on other big fees at ArtNews.
PRIMITIVE PEEK-A-BOO: Archaeologists discovered a 1,250-year-old mural in the ancient city of Xultun, near Guatemala. The painting has an attendant behind a king, possibly to hold up his headdress. Besides finding a new evidence of civilization, scholars are also excited to see an early version of 'a photobomb.' Live Science.
BUSY STREETS IN ARIZONA: Phoenix New Times' covers their street art well and recently wrote about "The Painted Desert" by Rebecca Green that "features a bevy of brightly colored critters from javelina to desert tortoise." She's an artist who often returns to the area to paint. So does El Mac, who in January collaborated with Pablo Luna, and Mando Rascón for a piece that was almost cancelled because it was "too ethnic."
PETER LIK: “I’m the world’s most famous photographer, most sought-after photographer, most awarded photographer,” said the Las Vegas photographer in a long Sunday New York Times article. His “Phantom," an image of a swirl of dust lit by focused sun in an Arizona canyon, is the one purchased for record $6.5 million.
Who is Peter Lik?
The profile is in the business section.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.