The Las Vegas Art Museum Doors Closed
When I tried to schedule an appointment for February
25th, 2009 to interview Libby Lumpkin, I found that she
had left the Las Vegas Art Museum. I was directed to
another person. We planned to meet and I hoped for an
interview that would inspire and encourage local artists to
produce work even more desirable for art collectors.
While scheduling the 2-25-09 interview over the phone,
the Marketing & Public Relations person mentioned some
of the museum’s projects, including a “Collector’s Club”
which helped collectors become more knowledgeable. There was the acquisition of a
donation from a New York couple who collected art in the mid 20th century…called
“50 works from 50 states”; I would meet this person, and see their current exhibit
called “L.A. Now”, which was to run from Dec. 12, 2008 through March 8, 2009.
On the appointed day, I drove 25 miles, and was surprised to hear “We’re now
defunct….There’s nothing to say, we’re closing on Saturday”. Nevertheless, while
there I was able to see the “L.A. Now” exhibit which was beautifully displayed in the
attractive library venue. This contemporary exhibit was so different, in my opinion. I
saw a Jered Pankin creation-- an emerging artist from southern California, who is also
a set design carpenter, whose piece essentially was a half beast, half wood, post
apocalyptic sculpture that had the head of a ram and the body of a bunch of wood,
and it had a palm tree. The artist made all of this himself- no animal had been used or
died – fake fur, fake eye, and fake eyelashes- so it looked like some sort of crazy
taxidermy project but it actually wasn’t. It was peaceful in that respect; but it was kind
of disturbing in the same way. It had a sort of dancing palm tree coming from it’s
Kristin Morgin’s display (2006) was unfired clay, paint, wood, and wire sculpture; She
was born in the 1950’s and influences from her life were Mighty Mouse.
Kristin created clay sculptures of the various books she loved, each displayed next to
the real books…. She made them look distressed, used, worn, and loved like a book
would look- like candy cigarettes used to be in the stores for children in the 50’s. She
seemed to be trying to explore the sense of belonging, and the sense of childhood;
asking is the story the thing or is it more the object itself- and if so, What does it
mean? A lot of the artists in this exhibition seemed to be asking questions with their
work. It was as if “It’s art, so anything goes”.
As I went though the museum, it seemed so personal, at times interesting, but to me
it was the curator’s interests to be shown to viewers. It became more exciting by
knowing the backgrounds of the artists, and the way their art was created.
The current contemporary taste in art is that it is thought provoking, preferably
disturbing. It still can be simply pictures, nice, not meant to make you think about
much more than the shapes and the objects- which is important too.” This was shown
in a layered oil on canvas over panels by musician and artist Brad Eberhard.
It would have been helpful to be able to ask about any future for a Las Vegas
Museum. Sadly, the art museum’s doors closed three days after my visit. The last
exhibit was dismantled. It went back to its home-- to the lenders and collectors; and
the “50 works from 50 states” will never be shown here in Las Vegas. Unless…?