MGM Resorts doubles down on commitment to art in Las Vegas

The magic behind Las Vegas and getting visitors to return again and again is creating experiences with gaming, entertainment, shopping, and dining.

For MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren, include public art as one of those experiences that can create magical moments that people won’t forget.

That’s the expectation behind “Bliss Dance,” a 40-foot-tall sculpture of a dancing woman in MGM’s The Park, the new dining and entertainment district that links New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts and T-Mobile Arena.

The creation of artist Marco Cochrane, the sculpture weighs more than 7,500 pounds and is illuminated at night by 3,000 colored LED lights.

The piece cost MGM Resorts more than $2 million and is part of an overall art collection valued at more than $200 million spread out among its properties. No other gaming company has made such an extensive commitment to art.

That art strategy has worked, according to Murren. “Bliss Dance” has gotten a lot of attention on social media, and visitors to the property are making it a location to meet, he said.

“It’s absolutely an asset we have that’s attracting more customers to our resorts, and that’s getting us more corporate business and creating more local awareness,” Murren said. “It dates back to the philosophy that we all have here in Las Vegas — that it’s our duty to create experiences, to create provocative new ideas and to create moments for visitors so that they come back again and again.”

Murren, an art history major in college who studied art in Europe and was inspired to paint by his artist mother, said a view emerged in the hospitality industry about 20 years ago that art “should be in the conversation” when talking about the overall aesthetic experience of hospitality. It’s a concept he said he’s fully embraced.

“The founding fathers and mothers of this town always had, even if it was whimsical, an interest in the arts,” said Murren. “We’re just elevating it and amplifying it to a way that has attracted an increasingly a discerning global customer.”

When the Bellagio opened in 1998 under Steve Wynn and before it became an MGM property in 2000, it featured a Gallery of Fine Art. The Mansion at MGM that opened in 1999 has an eclectic art collection from 14th century manuscripts, tapestries and contemporary artists, but that’s seen only by invited guests, Murren said.

The push for art on a public scale started in 2004 and 2005 when Murren said he pitched the idea of CityCenter to the board of directors. CityCenter was designed with art and fine architecture in mind, he said.

“Even during the dark days of 2008 and 2009 (with the recession) we continued to emphasize the role of art in public spaces,” Murren said.

CityCenter’s is considered the first major permanent collection of art in Las Vegas integrated into a public space and one of the world’s largest and most ambitious corporate art collections. That includes works by acclaimed artists sand sculptors such as Maya Lin, who created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Lin’s “Silver River” sculptor inspired by the Colorado River is suspended above Aria’s registration desk.

CityCenter’s collection has included works from Jenny Holzer, Nancy Rubins, Claes Oldenburg, Coosje van Bruggen, Frank Stella, Henry Moore, Richard Long and James Turrell.

The art collection at CityCenter has doubled or in some cases tripled in value since it opened in late 2009, Murren said. Some of the most extraordinary works by renowned artists have increased as much as four to five times what it was acquired for or commissioned. A sculpture by English artist Henry Moore in the park between Aria and The Shops at Crystals is probably worth eight figures, he added.

Overall, Murren said MGM has at least 15 pieces of art worth more than $1 million. The Picasso restaurant at the Bellagio has more than $30 million in art alone, he said. It includes a collection of original Picasso paintings, silkscreens, tapestries, pottery and ceramics.

Much of the Las Vegas artwork has focused on sculptures and large format paintings where the maximum amount of people can enjoy them. When the company opens MGM National Harbor in Maryland later this year, the art will focus on collection of historic importance to the Mid-Atlantic region, Murren said.

Art not only has to make sense for the space it fills but also fit the company’s core values in terms of diversity and inclusion, which are valued by corporate guests and other visitors when they book rooms, Murren said. “Bliss Dance,” one of his favorites along with Lin’s sculpture, would be an example of that value and importance of empowering women and creating safe environments for all people, he said, adding it’s beautiful, fun and uplifting.

“I believe that art is an essential element of quality of life,” Murren said. “I believe that all people regardless of their level of interest, education in the arts or even inclination has a visceral positive experience when they are enriched visually. That visual experience could be a desert park that we built between New York-New York and Monte Carlo or it could be a statue or oil painting.. It’s a great feeling that our customers are seeking out these selfie moments and one-of-a kind experiences not on the traditional type of itinerary.”

Murren said he would like to commission art by James Turrell, who he calls the greatest living American artist whose work deals with light and space, for placement on the Strip. He would like it to mix ambient light with artificial light to create a three-dimensional image of the stars and sky.

“If I accomplished this over the next several years, I would be over the moon,” Murren said. “People are very spontaneous and experimental and searching social channels to find the next great fun or pop-up moment. It’s our responsibility to answer that call. Art really works. Art is a rallying point, particularly for our international customers, but also everyone that visits Las Vegas. The feedback of when we do take some chances like build The Park or install a 40-foot tall woman sculpture, the feedback has been so positive that it encourages us to do it again and again. And we will.”

Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like