Here's a video essay shot on my late model iPhone that follows through on how public art in Las Vegas seems complete when seen at night.
With the Life is Beautiful Festival over the 2014 mix of mural and installations may not carry regional stories, and they do more to add identity to festival culture, downtown does have new large-scale street art for its outdoor gallery. There’s ROA’s big lizard, a temporary casualty by partially hidden behind a tent that was a retail venue for concert t-shirts. And there is the fish tank with a rainbow on Emergency Arts, the mural by Tim Bavington and Sush Machida that with the new configuration of the grounds, was outside at one of two festival entrances. There was also Arty the fuchsia fur dog by Misaki Kawai next to the container with the Life is Beautiful logo.
Edoardo Tresoldi’s sculptor made of wire mesh was a figure, that in semi-light, looked like someone climbing over a wood frame, sneaking on the concert grounds after dark.
One signal a nettlesome twist of street art anonymity. Final works are usually referred by the name of the artist and unless typopgraphy is part of the design, like “Evermore” by Lakwena Maciver or “Love Forever” by D*Face. for the most part street art is untitled. They may be mentioned in passing, like how Borongo’s mural is called “Corner.”
On D*Face’s “Love Forever,” a reclining female figure that just lost love could easily be a companion piece to his first of two murals from a year ago. The artist, a.k.a Dean Stockton, used his two visual pop culture tropes of high-brow humor of Roy Lichtenstein with the visual text of the undead-chic of zombies culture to make calculated fine art representing mechanical reproduction. “For me, pop art critique of consumerism, and is became a celebration of it, and artists wrapped into it became celebrities in their own way,” D*Face said the day he was painting. “Looking at art through Roy’s eyes and reinterpreting it back, giving pop art a proper up-to-date critique.”
Besides the murals there was also some incidental street art. Grass and sod was laid out for concertgoers to sit on was an ambitious installation. A giant rubber duck and her small flock in a pool reflected the festival demand to play life big. And the neon sign of the former Western Hotel using rhythmatic blinking decay to read WE HOT could make the claim of another Las Vegas themed public art on site. Inside the former Western hotel-casino was ART-Tales curator Patrick Duffy. “I think anytime you can take a monolithic building and you add some beauty to it, it’s doesn’t matter,” Duffy said. “What people perceive as a building with gutters and windows and get people to look . . . your hooked.”
Life is Beautiful Street Art Program curated by Charlotte Dutoit.
Music by Chris Zabriskie licensed under a Attribution License.
Above: Krystal Ramirez “I Want to See More Brown Bodies” from 2017 will be reassembled at UNLV’s Barrick Museum of Art in Spring 2018.