Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion was among the goals of MGM Resorts International’s recent expansion of its fine arts collection in Las Vegas.
The company acquired works by artists of color, women and the LGBTQIA+ community to display at its Strip resorts. Themes included bridging cultural barriers; perspectives on Black American and queer Black experiences; and challenges faced by people because of race, sex and sexual orientation.
Art by Rashid Johnson, Sanford Biggers, Derrick Adams, Ghada Amer, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Tomas Esson and Svenja Deininger is showcased in public areas for guests to see for no additional charge.
“Each of these valued works is an important and permanent addition to the overall vision of the MGM Resorts Art Collection,” said Tarissa Tiberti, executive director of MGM Resorts Art & Culture.
The artists and their creations
Johnson, a preeminent contemporary artist, fuses photography, sculpture and painting to promote conversation on race and class. One of his three-dimensional wall works, “Cosmic Slop Stick and Move” on Aria’s promenade level, was perhaps the toughest “get,” Tiberti said.
“Due to the high demand, we needed to show that we have the merit to be able to present his works within our properties,” she said.
A smaller version of Biggers’ celebrated 25-foot-tall, 7.6-ton “Oracle,” which was displayed at New York’s Rockefeller Center last summer, has been installed just outside of the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. The bronze sculpture is of seated body reminiscent of the Temple of Zeus, with a head inspired by masks and sculptures from African cultures.
“Biggers’ work is a complex interplay of narrative that reflects on current social, political and economic happenings,” Tiberti said.
Adams, who explores how Black American experiences relate to American iconography, art history, urban environments and consumerism, is completing a work in his “Floater” series that will be installed at the Park MGM’s pool entrance.
Two works from Amer, known for depicting women through the medium of thread, are featured in Bellagio’s Spa and Salon.
“At first glance, Amer’s works are colorful and dynamic,” Tiberti said. “Upon deeper reflection, viewers will discover a complex portrayal of femininity outside of norms shaped by masculinity. The two pieces from “The Women I Know Part II” feature embroidered and painted portraits of women Amer knows with phrases and quotes regarding feminist and social issues.”
Chase, whose portraits often focus on the nuances of queer Black life, is represented in “The Cook Out” (acrylic paint, oil paint, spray paint, oil stick, marker and graphite on canvas), at Park MGM, adjacent to the resort’s lobby.
Two works by Esson, who often explores the cultural challenges of the 1980s, are at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens and Bellagio’s VIP Lobby. An untitled painting from Deininger is displayed in Aria’s Carbone restaurant.
“The addition of these talented artists to our portfolio reflects MGM Resorts’ commitment to championing inclusion and ensuring that the collection more closely mirrors our diverse communities,” Tiberti said.
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