5 new art installations you need to see at Life is Beautiful

Updated September 23, 2017 - 4:56 pm

Those who consider Life is Beautiful’s art component less important than the downtown festival’s other offerings should reconsider.

While the participating artists “don’t have the fame of the rock stars” performing at the festival, their contributions are just as important, says Ryan Doherty, Life is Beautiful’s chief experience officer.

After all, “a long time after the music and the culinary (attractions) and the (speakers’) panels have departed, the art stays,” he notes.

“Year one, you’re begging everyone to get some walls for visiting artists to paint,” he recalls. “By year three, (downtown businesses) were offering up their walls. Now, it’s getting to the point where we’re running out of walls.”

Other art innovations at this year’s Life is Beautiful range from solar-powered neon — enhancing artist Felipe Pantone’s 2016 mural — to the annual Art Motel, this year transformed by Santa Fe collective Meow Wolf.

All told, this year’s festival features more than 20 murals and installations. But, in honor of Life is Beautiful’s fifth anniversary, here are five intriguing attractions from the festival’s art lineup:

Art Motel

For the Meow Wolf collective, it all started with a few artists, tucked into a corner of the annual Life is Beautiful attraction known as the Art Motel.

Now, with Zappos’ sponsorship, this year’s Art Motel is all Meow Wolf all the time.

Murals stretch across the open courtyard and up to the motel’s second floor. Sparkling lights dangle from a lacy canopy that covers the courtyard.

Installations range from a green-painted slime room to a hut where visitors can move their hands through a laser beam, triggering a musical note from a laser harp. And two “Pillow Monsters,” equipped with pulleys, enable visitors to stage their own soft-pillow battle.

FAILE mural

Painting partners Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller — collectively known as FAILE — have been invited, multiple times, to participate in Life is Beautiful’s mural program.

But this is the first year they’ve had time to join the party, even if they’re not quite in the middle of the festival action.

The FAILE mural features a canine character (a wolf? a dog?), decked out in a Las Vegas T-shirt, anticipating a royal flush as he stretches skyward for 21 stories on the Plaza’s north tower.

“We usually try to bring some connection to the local environment,” McNeil says of the Vegas-centric elements, adding that the mural was partially inspired by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s “Dogs Playing Poker” paintings.

The FAILE creation joins previously painted Plaza murals by D*Face and Shepard Fairey and “you definitely notice the impact” of the altered walls, McNeil notes. “It’s nice to have that impact.”

Solar-powered mural

Last year, Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone left his mark on Life is Beautiful with a mural that combined black-and-white geometric patterns (punctuated by glowing blocks of color) and an even more colorful lightning bolt reminiscent of Zorro’s signature “Z.”

This year, the colors and patterns will pop even more, as the mural lights up with 267 linear feet of neon tubing (from the Young Electric Sign Co., the same firm that created numerous Las Vegas hotel signs) powered by six solar panels installed by Bombard Renewable Energy.



A post shared by FELIPE PANTONE (@felipepantone) on


“It’s the first of its kind,” according to Bombard project manager Deidre Radford. “We’re so excited about this.”

It took a few months for Bombard employees to design and build “a solar power system up on the roof of the building” where Pantone’s installation is located, Radford says, calling it “really cool for our company to be associated with the arts.“

‘Crime on Canvas’

This art exhibit returns to Life is Beautiful, displaying work by Fairey, Shag and other local, national and international artists.

The 100 works on display — from limited-edition posters to original paintings — have been created especially for the festival, according to Doherty.

“It’s the first time they’re being seen,” he says. “We like that people can walk away with a piece of art.”

Featured creatures

Among the numerous unique presences at this year’s festival, keep an eye out for “Mechan 9” from tyler fuQua creations, a giant fallen metal robot who’s at Life is Beautiful following a 2016 debut at Burning Man. (After Life is Beautiful, the work will head to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.)

And an 18-foot polar bear created by Spain’s Okuda San Miguel (which arrived in Las Vegas after a three- to four-week sea voyage) will invite personal interaction, Doherty says. “We like when people can mess with the art.”



A post shared by OKUDA SAN MIGUEL (@okudart) on


A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the height of the FAILE mural.

Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like