At Vegas Seven, Jenessa Kenway profiled Vast Space Projects for its third anniversary and notes how the warehouse gallery has given regional contemporary art a chance to look west . . . "and the West looks back."
For three years, Vast Space Projects has acted like a dowsing rod, locating the buried artistic groundwater flowing between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. By keeping an eye on coastal talent, director Shannon McMackin has encouraged a visual dialogue between the two urban centers.
Kenway then shifts into the warehouse gallery scene that allows monumental experimental art, and how it's shaping into a connections to the Los Angeles warehouse art scene.
As the number of alternative warehouse spaces continues to grow, it becomes even more critical to watch the visual dialogue between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Since Las Vegas is already a playground for L.A., the growing art movement here can easily link in with that city’s larger scene. One could envision the industrial sectors of Henderson and Las Vegas housing entire galleries freshly transplanted from Los Angeles. Artists Rachel Stiff and Jason Adkins have already made the migration from L.A. to Las Vegas. Perhaps the lost “middle-class” art scene of L.A. will be found in Southern Nevada? The more that L.A. artists show works at Vast and other galleries around the Vegas Valley, the more tenable this concept appears. By aggressively intermixing the work of Nevada and California artists and by being plugged into L.A. art trends, Vast Space Projects is more than a simple divining rod—it is leading the charge.
Back in May, when Vast Space Projects hosted MAS Attack, Las Vegas felt quite at home as an contemporary art center. With solid programming in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, the local art community may want to look east. Somehow, Las Vegas could be the junction for experimental and contemporary art in the Southwest.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.