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$40M Artworks Grace New MGM Mirage CityCenter in Vegas

The Las Vegas real estate developer MGM Mirage has launched a $40 million Fine Art Program for the massive, $8 billion CityCenter—its joint venture with Dubai World—on the Las Vegas strip between Bellagio and Monte Carlo, scheduled to open in late 2009.

NEW YORK—The Las Vegas real estate developer MGM Mirage has launched a $40 million Fine Art Program for the massive, $8 billion CityCenter—its joint venture with Dubai World—on the Las Vegas strip between Bellagio and Monte Carlo, scheduled to open in late 2009.

Dubai World, a holding company that manages the businesses and commercial projects of the Dubai government, in the United Arab Emirates, has an almost 10 percent stake (19.5 million shares) in MGM Mirage and a 50 percent ownership of the CityCenter project (based on a $2.96 billion advance).

The public art project is expected to feature numerous sculptures and fine art installations at both interior and exterior locations. Some will be existing pieces, chosen for their artistic value and cultural significance; others will be site-specific installations, Michele C. Quinn, curatorial adviser for MGM Mirage and CityCenter, told ARTnewsletter.

Among the artists whose work has been acquired or commissioned for the space are Jenny Holzer, Maya Lin, Richard Long, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Nancy Rubins and Frank Stella. And the collection “is still growing,” Quinn affirms.

“We decided we didn’t want just one signature piece,” she says. Noting that the original budget for the public-art program was $30 million, Quinn relates that MGM Mirage chairman and chief executive officer Terri Lanni said, “‘We can do better than that.’”

The CityCenter complex will house four hotels—two of them containing residential units—a 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment center and two residential towers.

A number of renowned architects and architectural firms are involved in the design of these buildings, including Daniel Libeskind (retail center), Cesar Pelli (4,000-room hotel-casino), Norman Foster (small “boutique” hotel) and Rafael Viñoly (one of the hotel-residential buildings).

Quinn says the aim is to “make art part of the experience of CityCenter, with works tailored to the size of the space.”

MGM Mirage already owns about 600 works of art—including paintings, graphic and photographic prints by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Julian Schnabel—valued at $25/30 million. The works are displayed throughout its corporate offices.

To date, Quinn reports, 15 works by 15 artists have been acquired for the CityCenter public-art project, both through commissions (six) and purchases (nine). Lin, for instance, was commissioned to create a 120-foot-long silver cast of the Colorado River, which will be suspended above the reception area of the hotel-casino. Rubins, whose sculpture Big Pleasure Point is sited outside New York’s Lincoln Center, will create a larger-scale version of the piece—40 feet high, 50 feet wide and 70 feet long—to be situated outside one of the hotel-residential buildings.

Additionally, Quinn says, a 20-foot-tall sculpture, Typewriter Eraser, 1998-99, by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, was purchased through the Manhattan gallery PaceWildenstein, while other pieces were acquired on the secondary market.

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