Amid the complexities of a city where locals moan and groan about having to go to the Strip, and visitors and newcomers wonder with innocent ignorance why Las Vegas lacks culture, CENTERpiece Gallery lives, thrives and introduces beauty, art and style to anyone interested.
“Our concept is to redefine the traditions of the regular art gallery and make it a unique, intimate area with museum-quality works without exclusivity,” says Gallery Director Nicole Moffatt. A longtime resident, she has worked with Michele C. Quinn, an expert gallerist, art consultant and, for years, a fixture in the Las Vegas art scene. Together they have built a bridge to art that welcomes tourists and residents alike into a unique gallery setting.
Offering 2,500 square feet of art, design and literature, the gallery is set in the porte cochere of Mandarin Oriental. “It may be hard for people to find us,” Moffatt says, “but once they do, they love what we’re doing.”
Because art comes in a variety of formats, the gallery will soon showcase wearable art. Opening July 29, the Art Wear jewelry event features limited-edition pieces by three marquee designers: Lee Silton, Andrea Corson and Las Vegan Carla Taylor, whose Lola and George collection has garnered the adoration of celebrities Fergie, Miley Cyrus and Andy Garcia.
When planning the jewelry event, Moffatt and Quinn began with a list of 10 reputable jewelry artists before whittling it down to the three featured. “We wanted a cross range of artists with unique work,” Moffatt says. “Planning the event was an organic process. It evolved as we went along, and now we have three different, unique artists coming together for art.” Each collection being presented is based on the power of quality materials, unique style and innovative designs. Pieces range from $120 to $2,000. There’s a preview of the collection online at centerpiecelv.com.
Also on the docket, now through Aug. 31, CENTERpiece is showing works by renowned contemporary artist Marilyn Minter. Examining the relationships between the body, photography and painting, her work taps into cultural anxieties about sexuality and desire. Moffatt describes the exhibit as “glamorous and seductive.”
Since opening in conjunction with CityCenter in December, CENTERpiece has proven to be hip and modern, but also accessible. “Art can be intimidating, but CENTERpiece allows the consumer to not feel intimidated and welcomed to ask questions,” Moffatt says.
As part of the gallery’s mission to engage Las Vegans, Moffatt and Quinn developed Locals Only, a rotating series that features the works of local artists—and free admission. The first exhibition was a presentation of a curatorial selection of photographs by Shawn Hummel. The next, opening with an artist’s reception on Sept. 16, will showcase Sush Machida Gaikotsu, whose contemporary art fuses Eastern and Western traditions, namely the woodcuts of the Edo-period Japanese masters with American-style pop elements. This will be the first solo exhibition of Gaikotsu’s work in the Las Vegas area. “The Locals Only series is a great opportunity for the art community in Vegas to have a voice,” Moffatt says.