Guggenheim Las Vegas

Guggenheim Las Vegas


LAS VEGAS, NV/NEW YORK, NY, October 20, 2000—Thomas Krens, Director, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Peter B. Lewis, Chairman, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Sheldon Adelson, Chairman, The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino; and Rob Goldstein, President, The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, today announced at a press conference plans to create a new exhibition space in Las Vegas for the presentation of large-scale traveling exhibitions. The new 63,700-square-foot building, to be named the Guggenheim Las Vegas, is designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas within The Venetian and is scheduled to open in Fall 2001.

"The rationale for the Guggenheim Las Vegas is complex," said Mr. Krens. "I remember being captured almost thirty years ago by Robert Venturi's argument--presented in his compact but landmark book, Learning From Las Vegas--about the derivative authenticity of Las Vegas "vernacular" architecture. Although I could have scarcely imagined working with Las Vegas as a site even one year ago—since my very first visit to the city took place only at the beginning of this year—the fascination of the place is undeniable. When Sheldon Adelson and Rob Goldstein first approached us about bringing The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition to Las Vegas, it still did not seem likely that the Guggenheim could be there until we began talking about architecture. Sheldon's and Rob's willingness to consider a permanent new building—and an ambitious architectural statement—and their agreement that Rem Koolhaas would be the architect, created the possibility for the Guggenheim to engage the image of Las Vegas head on and come up with a creative solution that would add substantially to the character of Las Vegas on the one hand, as it maintained the dignity of a traditional cultural institution on the other. From a purely museological standpoint, it is our plan to build a space of an absolutely unique character and capacity.

"The Guggenheim Las Vegas has been designed as an exhibition space—not as a museum with a permanent collection. Our challenge was to design a building that had the aesthetic and practical capability to do things that were not possible in any other museum or exhibition space in the world. The Guggenheim Las Vegas will be able to accommodate exhibitions ranging from The Art of the Motorcycle to a retrospective of massive Richard Serra sculpture, from design, fashion, and architecture exhibitions to comprehensive presentations of multi-media, video, and high-technology based art. The one quality that exhibitions of this kind require is a scale, practicality and elasticity of space that is absolutely unique, in fact impossible to find in any museum that I know of. That was the challenge for Rem Koolhaas, and the result—in my opinion—is extraordinary.

"The Guggenheim Las Vegas is also an extension of the concept that has worked so successfully for us in Berlin, where a private entity, Deutsche Bank, has partnered with a cultural institution," said Mr. Krens. "Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin is relatively small—just 3,500-square-feet of exhibition space in a single room—yet it has generated an extraordinary response. The Guggenheim Las Vegas is clearly on a much larger scale, but it will function with the same exacting standards of curatorial excellence. When completed, it will be one of the most technologically advanced and flexible exhibition spaces in the country."

"Through its activities of the past decade—and in particular, with the opening of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao—the Guggenheim is reinventing the museum for the 21st century," said Peter B. Lewis, Chairman of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. "This represents another stage in the growth of the museum as both a popular attraction and a venue for the presentation of works of art of the highest quality."

"The Guggenheim Las Vegas at The Venetian will be the cornerstone of the continuing cultural renaissance of Las Vegas," said Sheldon Adelson, Chairman of The Venetian. "The Guggenheim is not the first cultural institution to have a presence in Las Vegas, nor is it the first occasion for world-class art to be seen in this city. However, the components involved—the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Rem Koolhaas, joining forces with the Venetian—make it by far the most ambitious program to date."

Building Design:
Architect Rem Koolhaas designed the new facility, which is a free-standing building within The Venetian Resort complex. The exhibition space, whose 70-foot ceiling gives the main room a hangar-like feeling, features a massive skylight, a functioning industrial crane, and additional lower level galleries. The floor of the ground level is flexible and may be opened to reveal a trench that drops down to lower-level galleries and spans the length of the exhibition space. Construction began in September and is scheduled for completion in Summer, 2001.

Mr. Koolhaas is considered one of the most important forces in contemporary architecture. The winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize for 2000, he has completed a number of projects in Europe that have won high praise from critics. Among his numerous highly acclaimed completed projects are the Kunsthal in Rotterdam (1992) and the Eura-Lille Masterplan and Grand Palais (1994). Currently in progress are a series of major commissions including the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin, and the new Public Library in Seattle. Mr. Koolhaas is equally known for his theoretical and academic work, which influenced a generation of young architects. His books Delirious New York (1978) and S, M, L, XL (1995) established Koolhaas as a leading thinker in contemporary architecture. He has held teaching positions at various institutions worldwide since 1975 and is currently a professor at Harvard University.

Opening Exhibition:
The Art of the Motorcycle, the Guggenheim's landmark exhibition that explores motorcycle design and technology, will inaugurate the Guggenheim Las Vegas. The exhibition will feature a new installation designed by architect Frank O. Gehry.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum:
Established in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation operates an international network of museums, including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Guggenheim Museum SoHo in New York; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; and the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. The Foundation's mission is dedicated to the collection, preservation, presentation, and interpretation of modern and contemporary art and culture. The Guggenheim maintains a premiere collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century art, with significant holdings of artworks by Beuys, Brancusi, Cézanne, Chagall, Kandinsky, Klee, Léger, Picasso, Rauschenberg, Rothko, and Serra, among many others.

October 20, 2000

For Press Information: Betsy Ennis
Department of Public Affairs
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Telephone: (212) 423-3840
Telefax: (212) 423-3787

Kurt Ouchida
Public Relations Director
The Venetian
Telephone: (702) 414-4335

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