The Las Vegas Art Museum is shutting down on February 28, 2009. “We’ve tried everything to keep this afloat. It’s just a challenging time,” said Patrick Duffy, president of the museum’s board. “The economic climate has eliminated several of our donations or reduced them significantly.”
The museum got its start in 1950 as the Las Vegas Art League. In 1974 it changed its name to the Las Vegas art Museum. It moved to its current location at the Sahara West Library/Fine Art Museum building in 1997.
Past exhibits include last year’s 702 Series: Stephen Hendee, Be My Suicide, which posed the philosphical question: “When nothing compels us more than to loose everything we care for, whose suicide is it?”
In 2006, there was a show of Kaz Oshiro: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1999-2006. According to the museum’s web site, “Oshiro’s distinctive, three-dimensional paintings appear to be sculptural replicas of conspicuously banal, mass-produced objects. Working in series, Oshiro has produced various brand-name electronic amplifiers, stereo speakers, car bumpers, kitchen cabinets, fast-food trash receptacles, washers and dryers, mini refrigerators, microwave ovens, and, most recently, Toyota truck tailgates.”
And in 2007, the museum devoted its gallery space to a Belgian artist for the show Cindy Wright Paintings: 2004-06. “Cindy Wright’s large, highly detailed paintings of raw meat, close-ups of human skin and figurative portraits display a heightened realism, the juxtaposition of which adds a level of complexity to the works as a whole,” said Dr. Libby Lumpkin, the museum’s Executive Director, who resigned in December when the museum board announced budget cuts.
Anybody want to hazard a guess as to why donations are down? Maybe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) can throw a little pork around the galleries, amidst the Toyota truck tailgates and human skin while pondering the existential complexities of suicide and loss. Perhaps that will keep the place open a little longer. Better yet, Dr. Lumpkin and her fellow sophisticates can go mingle with hoi-polloi in the lobby of the Bellagio Las Vegas, enjoying the 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers hanging from the ceiling, by sculptor Dale Chihuly.
Las Vegas Art Museum Closing [ArtInfo; February 23, 2009]