Updated August 1, 2023 - 8:15 pm
Transfix is in a fix. And Enchant is not enchanted by its experience at Resorts World.
The two major attractions are finished at RWLV’s Strip-facing property.
Transfix, billed as the world’s largest immersive art experience, has closed permanently after a six-week run. It had been planned to run at least through September. Instead, it closed after just 28 show days.
Transfix official Kevin Bracken, leading the transition team with former art curator Meranda Carter, has confirmed the outdoor art gallery closed the last week of May. He stated that organizers are planning to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy as early as this week.
Enchant on the Strip, the outdoor show that occupied that parcel during the holidays, is also reportedly planning to shut down its operation at Resorts World but continue to run at its original space, Las Vegas Ballpark.
Reports from that show are the audience was split between the Strip and Summerlin attractions, helping neither.
Resorts World reps have not responded to requests for comment regarding Enchant. The resort referred inquiries about Transfix to Bracken, who said low ticket sales, nightly overstaffing and an early decision not to schedule weekly live-music events led to the downfall.
Bracken said some 90 staffers were on the clock on nights when only 300 paid guests visited the show. Transfix was reportedly not making its payroll in its fourth week.
The strident art project had occupied a 200,000-square-foot, multilevel facility on the plot just south of Resorts World’s main tower.
Transfix opened April 21. The project’s co-founders were Chief Revenue Officer Tom Stinchfield and Chief Executive Officer Michael Blatter, who handled day-to-day operations. Expectations were lofty, with visionaries planning an expanse that evoked the annual Burning Man festival in northern Nevada.
Such renowned artists as Duane Flatmo, Christopher Bauder & KiNK, Marco Cochrane, Foldhaus Collective, Christopher Schardt, Playmodes and HOTTEA participated in the attraction.
Flatmo’s El Pulpo Magnifico was among the more stunning installations, dating to its days at Burning Man. The fire-spewing art car and octopus with bulging eyes blasted flames 30 feet high.
That piece has been moved off the Strip. But dozens of installations remain on-site, a source of concern to the artists who created the works. Thor Young, under the title of Transfix director of artist relations and community impact, blasted organizers in a pair of social media posts.
One was titled, “TRANSFIX IS DEAD AND THE ART IS ABANDONED.” Young wrote, “It’s truly heartbreaking to see how one person’s ego and greed have put so many artists in the unimaginable position of disrespect and hardship. Overspending and mismanagement by the CEO has bankrupted the company and has left the majority of the art in Las Vegas. There are no resources to deinstall the works and return them as per the contracts.”
Bracken contends he and Carter have installed a plan for a “soft landing” for the artists involved. They are arranging resources to help with art extraction and also pursuing efforts to help find buyers, rent the pieces out for special events or find safe storage. (He says those interested in such support can email email@example.com and be in touch with artists directly.)
“What I’m trying to get out of the resort, ‘Can you just give me like the drop dead date to get the stuff out of here?’” Bracken said. “Obviously the artists are concerned that the resort is just going to start removing their art. But I work with the resort daily, and I know that that is not the case, the resort definitely does not want to touch anybody’s art.”
The timeline for dealing with the art left behind by Transfix has been extended because Enchant won’t be loading in for its display. The festive experience boasted the world’s largest Christmas light experience with more than 4 million outdoor lights, a 100-foot-tall holiday tree (the largest tree on the Strip), an immersive walk-through light maze, ice skating, live entertainment and Santa visits.
That display ran for one holiday season last November and December, and is to continue to run at the home of the Aviators this year.
It remains a mystery what is still possible at that parcel, home to a 2-acre labyrinth of amazing art for Transfix and dazzling holiday displays for Enchant. Maybe a live-music series or another holiday-themed display. But don’t expect a flaming octopus. That fire is snuffed out.
Cool Hang Alert
“American Idol” Season 6 runner-up Blake Lewis plays Easy’s Cocktail Lounge at Proper Eats Food Hall at Aria on Friday night. Hours are 5 p.m.-2 a.m., reservations strongly encouraged because of “limited capacity.” Show me the place with unlimited capacity, and we can all retire. No matter. Get there. Intel at EasyVegas.com.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.