The Las Vegas artist—known for his Grub-Baby rescue video, a cats-versus-Borg piece and other unconventional narratives—is sculpting the cat head with its tongue out as if it's cleaning its paw. Visitors stand in front and act out the illusion of being cleaned (or slobbered with love). “It’s human nature to expect a tactile experience,” Smigel says. “I want them to touch it, to interact with it, to get out that primal urge.”
Cat people rejoice. Jesse Carson Smigel's 10-foot-tall head of a feline will be installed at First street and Coolidge Ave in fall, reports Kristen Peterson:
Noteworthy is how the interactive street experience of taking photos completes the sculpture, according to the artist. Smigel's theatrical style is loved by locals and it's playful pastiche that plays off the civic and social cause concepts of public art itself. "I would rather appeal to the child inside of everyone," Smigel said to the Las Vegas Sun in 2010. "I'm not trying to give anyone a downer about oil spills or politicians."
BACK TO SCHOOL: Back in May, the town noted the 50th anniversary release of “Viva Las Vegas" and the coverage answered a burning question I’ve always had. Was the “C’mon Everybody" sing-and-dance scene with Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley filmed at the University of Nevada (Southern Regional Division) gym? That's what the sign says.
The college became UNLV and that former gym is now an art museum. “Surprisingly, in a town that implodes and rebuilds itself periodically like the world’s biggest Lego set, several of the filming sites remain and some are relatively unchanged,” wrote F. Andrew Taylor for Las Vegas Review Journal:
What is now UNLV didn’t have its first commencement until 1964, but you can still walk the same floor that Elvis and Ann-Margret danced on. In the movie, Ann-Margret dances at the stage/gymnasium and a sign identifying the young school is prominent behind her. When Elvis arrives, there are shots from the stage of Ann-Margret and a bunch of young dancers dancing at half court. UNLV has a new gym, but the old building found new life as the Barrick Museum. You can stroll through the art across the old parquet basketball court. Center court is still there and features a depiction of the school’s original mascot, Beauregard, who looks like the Big Bad Wolf in a Confederate uniform.
Seven Magic Mountains
Art Production Fund
Nevada Museum of Art