Fountain at The Venetian.
Statues as outdoor public art are plentiful in Las Vegas if you don’t mind the replicas. The Strip’s American, Italian, Roman, French, and Egyptian themed simulacra are seductive invitations to their designated kinetic playground.
Anyone who prefers the dry authentic early 20th Century civic art - bronze statues of historic figures representing narrative of city founders – you won’t find much in Las Vegas. That seems unusual for a city founded in 1905, and incorporated in 1911, to not have something. And with Nevada admitted to the Union 150 years ago, on October 31, 1864, as civil war strategy by President Abraham Lincoln, you would expect a bust of the 16th president be somewhere in Clark County.
Even a miner or railroad worker in bronze would have been an expected civic-minded marker. And there's nothing about John C. Frémont, the military officer appointed to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers to map the area and mark trails. Instead of Frémont posed with a map looking over the street that would be named him, there’s Vegas Vic with a permanent neon wink.
Some traditional outdoor sculpture did pop up later. There was once Benny Binion, founder of the Horseshoe Club casino, sitting on a horse at the downtown corner of Casino Center Boulevard and Ogden Avenue. But after 20 years in that spot, the statue was moved indoors to the South Point Casino in 2008, at the far end of Las Vegas Boulevard. Elvis Presley, in his Las Vegas glory of cape and sideburns, stood outside the former Las Vegas Hilton since 1978. Now the Las Vegas Hotel, management has moved the King indoors last summer; Elvis has entered the building.
"Elvis Statue" via Lisa I cra*sh.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.