In 2005, when casino executive Jim Murren spoke at a panel on art collecting in then-Downtown gallery Godt-Cleary Projects, there was no way to foresee that his passion for art and its invaluable role in daily life would have such a big impact on Las Vegas within the next decade. His concept for CityCenter would come to fruition, including a $40 million blue-chip art collection. As chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, he ushered in projects such as The Park, which features permanent and rotating artworks, and Aria’s sponsorship of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s “Seven Magic Mountains,” a two-year, privately funded art installation in the desert produced by Reno’s Nevada Museum of Art and New York’s Art Production Fund. Additionally, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art continues to benefit from its relationship with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as well as other major institutions.
If all of that, plus the opening of MGM National Harbor in Maryland this month with commissioned and acquired works, doesn’t say something about MGM Resorts’ growing dedication to art in its brand, its new partnership with Art Basel Miami Beach cements it.
MGM Resorts is the official partner of the Public sector at the influential art fair this weekend. The relationship could help raise the profile of the hospitality company’s devotion to art in public spaces and potentially lead to other partnerships, says Tarissa Tiberti, director of Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts.
Curated by Nicholas Baume, director of New York’s Public Art Fund (which organized Rondinone’s “Human Nature” installation at Rockefeller Center), the Public sector features emerging artists’ large-scale sculptures and installations and is produced with Miami Beach’s The Bass Museum of Art, which also has a new Rondinone work.
The partnership comes in conjunction with the recent formation of MGM Resorts Art & Culture, a new umbrella program that unifies its arts endeavors, allowing the company to focus on them strategically and financially. Tiberti says they’re already in discussions with Art Basel for possibilities with future art fairs, which could lead to other collaborations.
“The company is continuing to grow, so its commitment to art [will continue] to grow,” Tiberti says. “It’s not only happening in Las Vegas, but with our properties in other cities. We’re growing not just the collection but programs as well.”
In regard to its relationship with Art Basel Miami Beach, she says, “We’re hoping it continues.”