Hotel magnate Steve Wynn won’t be putting his elbow through this work of art.
His latest art acquisition is a 2,000-pound rock-hard symbol of one of America’s first superheroes of the 20th century.
Soon to be standing tall and flexing his muscles at Wynn Las Vegas will be artist Jeff Koons’ cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man.
Wynn purchased the nearly 7-foot-tall brightly colored, stainless steel sculpture for $28.2 million at Sotheby’s auction house this week.
It isn’t the first time Wynn, one of the world’s most prolific art collectors, has invested in Koons’ work. The chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts bought Koons’ Tulips in late 2012 for $33.7 million, a then-record price for a work by Koons.
Wynn was quoted at the time as saying “many people believe that Jeff Koons is one of the most important living artists on canvas and in sculpture in the world today.”
A year later, Wynn’s words proved prophetic when Koons’ orange Balloon Dog sold for $58.4 million, making it the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction.
Tulips has been on display in the lobby in front of Encore Theater for more than a year. There were rumors Wynn was shopping the stainless steel work. Instead he doubled down on Koons.
Wynn made headlines in 2006 when he accidentally put his elbow through Pablo Picasso’s Le Reve, which he purchased for $60 million in 2001. Wynn had it restored and sold it for $155 million to Steve Cohen.
Art dealers said it was the highest price a U.S. collector had paid for an artwork at that time.
WHAT A TROUPER
Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson was so sick he missed a rehearsal Wednesday for a donors dinner at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
The former “Glee” performer showed up 30 minutes before his performance and proceeded to knock it out of the park.
Myron Martin, Smith Center president and CEO, called Jackson “the consummate professional” for his flawless performance.
Jackson, the first singer to perform in Reynolds Hall on the Smith Center’s opening night in March 2012, fell ill with stomach problems during his flight Wednesday to Las Vegas. He saw a doctor and returned to his hotel to rest.
Jackson made no mention of his health issues and only a handful of people were aware of his condition.
“People loved him and I cannot wait to bring him back for public performances in October,” Martin said.
The Smith Center is anticipating its 1 millionth patron sometime in July.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor John Lithgow will be among the honorees at the gala dinner Saturday of the Las Vegas steering committee of the Human Rights Campaign. Also being honored at the event at Wynn Las Vegas: former local television personality Chris Saldana and Morton Group’s Jenna Morton. Special guests include LGBT rights activist Dustin Lance Black, who won the Oscar for best original screenplay for “Milk” at the 2009 Academy Awards.
Mirage headliner Terry Fator and Winston the Turtle, opening and performing at Thursday’s 10th annual All-Star Showcase for the After-School All-Stars students. The event was held at Springs Preserve. ... A San Diego Chargers delegation met with Las Vegas business leaders on Tuesday in the Monkey Bar at Piero’s Italian Cuisine. Among the Chargers group: Dean Spanos, chairman of the board and CEO; head coach Mike McCoy; defensive coordinator John Pagano; linebacker Donald Butler; running back Danny Woodhead; and the Charger Girls.
THE PUNCH LINE
“Part two of Donald Sterling’s interview with Anderson Cooper aired on CNN tonight. It may have been the first time I’ve ever seen an apology that was more offensive than the thing being apologized for.” — Jimmy Kimmel
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.