For its inaugural artists’ residency programme in Las Vegas, USA, the Zabludowicz Collection invited five international artists to spend up to four weeks in this iconic and complex location. Building on the Collection’s established bi-annual residencies in Sarvisalo, Finland, this new initiative emerged from a desire expressed by numerous artists to experience first-hand one of the most celebrate centres of the entertainment industry and of postmodern architecture in the world.
Las Vegas as a city embodies many of the cultural, economic and ecological paradigms of the late 20th Century. It is a place of tourism and transit with a built environment that presents us with a physical analogue to a hyper-reality we might experience online. But it is also a functioning city with a growing population and a history that includes more than just the Casino boom. The residency created an opportunity for ‘millennial generation’ artists to get to know and respond to this context. What might such a city mean to those brought up within an image-saturated and networked culture?
The participating artists, Korakrit Arunanondchai, David Raymond Conroy, Eloise Hawser, Daniel Keller & Ella Plevin, were invited on the basis of crossovers between their practices and themes at play in Las Vegas. They were also linked together via their participation in the group exhibition Emotional Supply Chains, presented at Zabludowicz Collection, London, 24 March – 17 July 2016. Residency artists were given support in exploring their research interests, including visits to neon and electric sign factories, desert caves, abandoned casinos and survivalist conventions. Such research fed into several new commissions produced for Emotional Supply Chains.
As a culmination of the residency a two-day symposium, Think Vegas, was also convened. Alongside contributions from the residency artists, this event invited Las Vegas-resident artists, curators, cultural policy-makers and business-people to discuss the current arts scene in Las Vegas, and map out possibilities for its evolution as a cultural and creative centre. The programme was underpinned by the Zabludowicz family's longstanding commitment to Downtown Las Vegas and its cultural development.
With support from:
Tamares Real Estate Holding Inc.
The Plaza Hotel & Casino
With special thanks to Melissa Petersen and Jennifer Cornthwaite