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Despite foot-stamping cold temperature, crowds turned out for the one-night art installation event, Greetings From Las Vegas at the historic, and still operating, Gateway Motel.
As parking filled up, overflow was directed to 4th Street and a nearby Walgreens, which kindly responded by towing hapless attendees.
The pop-up event was aimed towards the concept of sustainable-living with many of the rooms featuring objects made with recycled or reclaimed materials, presentations on sustainable architecture and design, water conservation and so on.
UNLV Downtown Design Center’s room contained a wooden table with holes drilled into top in the shape of a map, with herbs from the various regions represented, sprouting out the top. Great Basin Permaculture filled the room’s bathtub with empty water jugs along with signage advocating 10-minute showers.
On that note is it perhaps debatable whether pouring the time and energy of large group of people into a single evening, old motel heaters cranked up to ward off the chilly temps, is sustainable itself? Still each warm space entered was a welcomed respite from the cold night air.
The Dec. 5 event had the feeling of a really great idea in its raw infancy stages.
The opportunity to display art in the context of an old run-down motel has huge potential for transformative installation and narrative that encourages harnessing the space as a vehicle through which to convey ideas.
With a surplus of old motels in Las Vegas, this city holds the key to a wealth of alternative spaces rich with history and primed for further story telling.
Most participants opted to simply use the beds as tables to display their information, line the walls with info, art and posters, with the occasional painting displayed in the shower. With one day to set up and prep, anything too complex would’ve, understandably, been difficult to arrange.
Despite the narrow time frame there were a few highlights that stood out. Jennifer Henry’s room, titled How Does Your Garden Grow? was a delicious confection filled floor to ceiling with plastic, pink, clear and white rosettes made from recycled bags and party materials.
A couple of glitter-dusted models were nestled chatting in the center of the fluff completing the explosive rococo cotton-candy vignette.
Jevijoe Vitug, in collaboration with Marliene Siu and Allison Streater, each clad in metallic gold, conducted a futuristic surreal tea ceremony mixing up a provocative blend between cultural ceremony and room service.
Installed in a bathroom doorway, a narrow panel of LED lights by Brian Henry pulsed in patterns of white, blue and red-violet lending the room an eerie 1982 Poltergeist vibe.
David Sanchez-Burr, working with by Yasmina Chavez and Javier Sanchez, covered the carpeting with swatches of grass and served pickled herring hors d’oeuvres from Denmark juxtaposing unsustainable living practices.
Going room-to-room, each door opened up with the anticipation of discovering new ideas and objects inside, is an enjoyable explorative format that definitely merits further exploration. CL