Las Vegas Photography Galleries & Fine Art
Las Vegas has held the throne as entertainment capital of the U.S. for over half a century. From all points of the compass, people have been drawn across the desert wastes to the strange oasis of bright lights and decadent mystery. Its stages have seen the likes of Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion, Penn and Teller, and Lady Gaga. It’s hotels are pinnacles of luxury and architectural achievement, from the Giza-esque monolith of the Luxor to the interior canals of the Venetian. Night clubs, bars, world-class restaurants, theatres, and more offer limitless possibilities for adventure and fantasy in a city which not only never sleeps, but never stops to rest, either.
All this dazzling spectacle, of course, revolves around Vegas’s central attraction: gambling. The first casino in Vegas opened its doors more than a century ago, and since then, this high-stakes industry has remained the core of the city’s identity, a nexus around which all other forms of media and business have orbited.
And yet, something has begun to change in the past few years. What has long been a place of fast cash and sensory immersion is now taking on a more contemplative and creative identity. Since 2010, a growing art scene has been spreading along the Strip and into other areas of the city. Galleries, private collections, murals, public sculpture, and other hallmarks of the fine art world have become permanent fixtures in the many hotels, casinos, and other venues. Along with the art has come the artists, and it is they who are working to slowly rework and reinvent Vegas’s image, and for creators, collectors, and art lovers of all kinds, it’s a very exciting time.
Photography Galleries & Art On The Strip
Since it’s the heart and soul of the whole city, much of the new artistic transformation has taken place on the Strip. This arterial causeway is filled with some of the most famous and iconic casinos in the city; in addition to those already mentioned are the Flamingo, Caesar’s Palace, the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, and many more.
Calling these places casinos can be misleading, however. Most of them are more akin to self-contained cities, boasting hundreds of hotel rooms, indoor shopping malls, and even parks. The interior real estate of these structures is vast, and in recent years, it has become a breeding ground for scores of fine art galleries. While these venues can be found throughout the strip, most are to be found in the Venetian, the Bellagio, and Caesar’s palace.
The Venetian | Fine Art Galleries at Las Vegas' Grand Canal Shoppes
The Venetian is home to one of the largest shopping centers on the Strip. Known as the Grand Canal Shoppes, this indoor mall hugs the network of artificial waterways and boasts a wide variety of restaurants and luxury retailers. Among these can be found the Signature Galleries, the Animazing Gallery, and the Regis Galerie.
The Signature Galleries is another chain, and the Venetian is home to one of its largest locations. The gallery houses a wide variety of sculptural, photographic, and painterly works by contemporary artists including Angela De La Vega, Dave Mathis, Oryan, Jeff Vermeeren, and others. In addition to more recent pieces, the Signature also contains a number of older graphical works by none other than Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss.
In this same vein, the Animazing Gallery is another space specially dedicated to graphic and animated art. Founded in 1984 but only coming to the Strip in 2017, Animazing boasts a huge collection of works by Charles Schulz, Dr. Seuss, and others.
The Regis is something of a cross between an art gallery and a history museum. Here, French and East Asian antiquities—dazzling works of sculpture, jewelry, and woodwork—are retailed alongside the avant-garde furnishings of Christopher Guy and amphibious sculptures of Tim Cotterill.
Las Vegas Art Galleries Caesars Palace
By far the greatest preponderance of galleries, however, is to be found in Caesar’s Palace. Following the Roman theme, this resort features its own extensive shopping center called the Forum. Going into detail about every gallery and retailer in the Palace would take some time, but among the most interesting and well-known are the SKYE, Carnevale, Vladimir Kush, and Martin Lawrence galleries.
The SKYE Gallery was founded by art historian Vanessa Skye and her partner in 2011. The SKYE features a wide variety of pop and contemporary works by current members of the international art scene, including Gino Savino, Carlos Vasquez, Elizabeth Sullivan, and Nelson de la Nuez.
The Carnevale is focused primarily on modern and contemporary fine art photography. With themes of photojournalism, travel, and change, the gallery contains a variety of unique pieces by photographers like Christopher Franke, John Mastrogiacomo, Art Wolfe, and Michael Zagaris. In recent years, however, the gallery has begun branching out in new directions, and now also maintains a small collection of paintings by Brittney Palmer and Rita Asfour.
The Vladimir Kush gallery is one of the few art venues on the strip to be dedicated entirely to the work of one artist. Kush’s “metaphorical surrealism” has been the ideological force behind hundreds of works in two- and three-dimensional media which capture the imagination and demonstrate that there is still much fantastical and unexplored territory in the art world.
Finally, the Martin Lawrence Gallery is one of the largest art spaces to be found on the Strip, at over 27,000 sqft. With such a great size, it’s no surprise that this gallery (which has locations across the U.S.) has held works by some of the world’s most famous artists. Pieces by Keith Haring, Joan Miró, and Andy Warhol have all been part of the collection at one time or another, and new and fascinating pieces are being acquired all the time.
The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art & Photography
The Bellagio, while known for its eye-catching fountains and interior gardens, does not contain the expansive shopping centers of the Venetian or the Palace. As such, its single major contribution to the burgeoning Vegas art movement is the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. The Bellagio gallery is one of the oldest artistic venues on the strip, first opening in 1998. Since then, it has gained a reputation as a trusted and world-renowned institution. Artworks by Picasso, Andy Warhol, and the House of Fabergé have adorned this small museum, open to the public for a small admission fee.
Galleries are at the heart of the art scene on the Strip, but creative new creative installations are popping up all the time. The multipurpose CityCenter contains a dazzling ice sculpture by L.A. group “WET” consisting of giant ice towers which melt and reform each day in different patterns. MGM’s “The Park,” a little sanctuary of greenery among the towering resorts, is home to a number of eye-catching sculptures and installations including Marco Cochrane’s forty-foot construction of a graceful female figure entitled “Bliss Dance.” These and other public spaces are increasingly becoming forums for new generations of artists, adding a dash of color to the skyscrapers and white lights.
Beyond the Strip | The Las Vegas Art & Photography Scene
Though the Strip remains the epicenter of Vegas’s art scene, creative enclaves and attractions are popping up all over the city. Chief among these is the Arts District. An obscure collection of rundown motels and empty warehouses just a few years ago, it slowly drew attention from various segments of the art community, and is now one of the most popular and trendy locations for tourists, art enthusiasts, and creators of all kinds.
The Arts District is home to coffee shops, bars, restaurants, shops, and above all galleries. Art of all sorts can be found here, from the leftfield eclecticism of places like Stinko’s and Recycled Propaganda to the more classical collections to be found at RM Photo Gallery or Conrad West Art Gallery. The centerpiece of all these venues is the Arts Factory, a massive repurposed warehouse popularly referred to as the “cultural hub” of the District. Since 1991, hundreds of artists have displayed their work here, from photographers to sculptors to painters and everything in between. As the progenitor of this flourishing neighborhood, the Arts Factory is still at the stylistic and intellectual forefront of this dynamic and evolving creative space.
Aside from the galleries, the District itself has been turned into a canvas of sorts. Everywhere, the old brutalist concrete is covered in vibrant graffiti and murals created by the resident artists. As well, street corners, empty lots, and other free spaces have been filled with sculptures crafted from salvaged items and recycled materials. Everywhere you look, some new and exciting project or canvas is bound to catch the eye, rendering the District one giant artwork in and of itself.
The creative energies of Las Vegas’s burgeoning arts community have not been confined only to the Strip and the District, either. Elsewhere, you can see the warped eighteen-wheelers of Mike Ross’s Big Rig Jig, the brilliant rainbow stones of Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains, or the constantly changing artworks featured each year at music festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival and Life is Beautiful held in the city.
For tourists, art lovers, and creators of all sorts, Vegas is quickly becoming a must-see destination. Everywhere from the Strip to the surrounding desert is starting to show the marks of creativity and new aesthetic design. And the best part is that this is just the beginning. Artists, collectors, and other members of the art world are flocking in, and in coming years, art may become as synonymous with Las Vegas as luxury, entertainment, or even gambling.