Las Vegas Sun

June 25, 2019

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Irreverence of Las Vegas tourists extends to high art

public art

Justin M. Bowen

Art pieces on display during the Cosmopolitan’s opening were removed shortly after for repair. The Roark Gourley 9-foot stiletto shoes were nicked and chipped, possibly by tourists who had crawled into the insole.

Las Vegas pitches itself as this increasingly sophisticated, yet still inebriated good time, a getaway for gawking tourists unleashing wild behavior during a four-day junket that includes drink coupons and exposure to contemporary art. But it seems that the blend of art and recklessness has yet to settle in. Maybe we just can’t have nice things.

Just take a gander at what is and isn’t on the floor of the newly christened Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Objects d’art on display opening week were removed shortly after for repair. The Roark Gourley high-gloss 9-foot stiletto shoes on the second-floor promenade are nicked and chipped, possibly by photo-snapping tourists lost in a Disneyland moment, some of whom crawled into the insole for a more enveloping big-shoe experience.

The sculptures in a wide corridor are surrounded by a new decorative rope. But that hasn’t stopped tourists from jumping onto the works. Although the 3-D works — including a sculpture of multiple hands that lost some fingers thanks to visitors — remain vulnerable, the 2-D works seem unharmed, says Chris Burns, Cosmopolitan director of content and entertainment curation. Burns also says management is looking at ways to make the pieces more user-friendly.

This story appears in the current issue of Las Vegas Weekly, a sister publication of the Sun.

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