Still thinking about my recent trip to Vegas for Life Is Beautiful. I’m not a big music fan but I absolutely LOVE the art that is created for this festival by some of the world’s most renowned street artists. Every year, since 2013, artists have transformed Downtown Las Vegas into an urban art gallery (curated brilliantly by Charlotte Dutoit of art collective and production unit JUSTKIDS).
This year was even more phenomenal because we also visited Ugo Rondinone‘s Seven Magic Mountains (on Hwy 15 about 20 minutes outside of Vegas). A MUST SEE!!!
Read below for the 5 absolute best art installations (including photos).
This large scale desert artwork by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone is located near Jean Dry Lake and Interstate 15, approximately ten miles south of Las Vegas. According to Rondinone, the location is physically and symbolically mid-way between the natural and the artificial: the natural is expressed by the mountain ranges, desert, and Jean Dry Lake backdrop, and the artificial is expressed by the highway and the constant flow of traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Seven Magic Mountains is produced by NY’s Art Production Fund and the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno. The installation site is a short distance from where Michael Heizer and Jean Tinquely created legendary land art works in the 1960s.
The exhibition opened May 11, 2016 and will be on view for two years.
LOVED this installation of inflatable rabbits illuminated in stark white light. The first nite of LIB only one rabbit was on view. The next morning, from my hotel room, I saw 3 of the inflatables. Clearly they did what rabbits do. But seriously, they install and de-install based on wind conditions.
Amanda’s rabbits have been invading festivals around the world. For this Australian artist, they represent the fairytale animals from her childhood – a furry innocence, frolicking through idyllic fields but the artwork also reveals more serious environmental messages. They are huge, the size referencing “the elephant in the room”, the problem, like our environmental impact, big but easily ignored.
LOVED this piece. Justin Favela is a Las Vegas native working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, and performance. His work draws from art history, popular culture and his heritage. Favela’s work is currently highlighted in his solo project Mi Casa es Mi Casa at the OXS Gallery in Carson City, Nevada and Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders, at the New Mexico Museum of Art through October 10. He will also be part of the Denver Art Museum’s 2017 exhibition Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place. You can see more of his work at JustinFavela.net and listen to his podcast at LatinosWhoLunch.com
Originally commissioned for Burning Man and recently displayed in the UK at Banksy’s Dismaland project, the installation will become a permanent fixture within the festival footprint.
Noteworthy that this year 3 art installations involved vehicles:
- Mike Ross’ Big Rig Jig
- BordaloII’s Meerkat bus
- VW filled with succulents and flowers
Fafi is a French artist based in Paris. Known for her female characters the Fafinettes. Playing with the physical stereotypes of the “fly girl,” (think big booties, boobs and lips), the women are so colorful they jump off their background, whether it’s a sweater worn by Drake or a large-scale urban mural. Fafinettes have become fashion icons all over the world.
AND FINALLY, one of my favorite artists in Las Vegas: Matthew Couper. Check out his gorgeous paintings here. I met Matt at LIB in 2014 and have been following his work online. Big thanks to Matt also for giving us an amazing tour of the Seven Magic Mountains and for letting me do a studio visit afterwards.