Time to boogie, Guggie.
But take our affection and gratitude with you.
"A lot of people talk about world-class -- it is world-class -- and I don't think anybody could dispute that," says Elizabeth Herridge, managing director of the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum inside The Venetian. "I think we brought a taste of quality and authenticity to people in this city. It is extremely disappointing that there doesn't seem to be adequate interest, but what can you do?"
Bye-bye is bittersweet for the Guggenheim, which shutters its doors following this final weekend after a seven-year Strip stint and a cultural transfusion into the lifeblood of Las Vegas.
Departing with dignity in a town that relishes implosions and fireworks (and waiving admission prices as a thank-you gesture), the Guggenheim concludes its Las Vegas life with the same exhibit that has occupied its halls since July: Modern Masters from the Guggenheim Collection is an exhibition of 37 masterpieces from New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The artwork highlights milestone moments in modern painting, from the 1870s through the 20th century's first several decades.
But as the showiest show-biz town in the Western hemisphere, let's not let the museum leave without a burst of appreciation. Shout-outs are due this all-star cast, headlined by Cezanne, Chagall, van Gogh, Monet and Picasso, with backup performers Vasily Kandinsky, Fernand Leger and Piet Mondrian in a dazzling production of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism. So leap to your feet for the final bows of the most exquisitely artistic performers Las Vegas has ever seen, as Herridge muses on the museum's fate.
Ladies and gentlemen, a big round of applause, if you will, for ...
Paul Cezanne, Post-Impressionist credited with bridging late-19th-century Impressionism and early-20th-century Cubism, prompting Picasso and Matisse to cite Cezanne as "the father of us all." Biggest hit? Probably Rideau Cruchon et Compotier, which sold for a staggering $60.5 million. C'mon everyone, a big hand for Paul, show him some love.
"The first five years were stupendous and people were enormously excited about seeing art from the Hermitage and the Guggenheim collection, not just from New York but worldwide," Herridge says. "But this city is very different than it was seven years ago when we opened."
Now folks, let's hear you give it up for ...
Marc Chagall, portrayer of many biblical scenes reflecting his Jewish heritage and chockablock with allusions to his childhood, but an artist who eludes easy categorization -- dabbler in the avant-garde, perceived as an sunny optimist for his vivid colors, while also creating works such as The White Crucifixion, seen by some as a condemnation of Stalinism, Nazism and persecution against Jews. So put your hands together now for Marc, let him know how you feel.
"These are masterpieces that have not just visual value, but historic value and appeal," Herridge says. "I am concerned that we will never see this quality of artwork in Las Vegas again."
Everyone, let's bring him out for his final hurrah, and make it loud because he's got a bit of a hearing problem ...
Vincent van Gogh, ex-teacher, missionary worker and Expressionist pioneer who didn't embark on an artistic career until he was a ripe ol' 27, but caught up quickly, producing more than 2,000 works, including around 900 paintings and more than a thousand sketches and drawings. His most famous pieces were bunched in the last two years of his life, when he also sliced off part of his left ear, was tortured by mental illness and finally committed suicide. But here in the Guggenheim's hallowed halls, let's show him that what he left behind dwells in eternity. C'mon, blow the lid off the applause meter.
"As time went on, people just became more interested in other things like shopping and dining," Herridge says. "Everything seems to be about retail -- the best is being provided to people -- and there's a loss of interest in the visual arts, which is a little surprising because this is such a visual city."
Hey kids, time to rattle the rafters for ...
Claude Monet, credited as the founder of French impressionist art, whose painting, called Impression, Sunrise, lent the movement its name. In a series of tributes, Monet painted landscapes and seascapes of the French countryside, as well as works depicting weeping willow trees, saluting fallen French soldiers of World War I. Let's hear a lusty cheer for this brilliant canvas jockey, c'mon now.
"We served 26,000 school kids while we were here in an extremely well-developed, exquisite program we did with the Clark County School district," Herridge says. "We did everything to get people to have a transformative experience, if they wished."
And finally, make the walls shake -- stomp your feet and scream and shout -- for the singular greatness of ...
Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso. ... Yes, you know him as Pablo Picasso, named with excessive flair after copious saints and relatives. Iconic painter and sculptor, co-founder of the Cubist movement, he embraced far-flung styles, his name a synonym for artistry.
"But the best part of this whole experience was being in Las Vegas with the people and the visitors and the kids," Herridge says. "The people in the valley have made this just the most wonderful, warm experience, even if I do wish more of them had joined in."
Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at email@example.com or 702-383-0256.