Risky Gamble or Sure Bet? Emmanuel Perrotin Just Opened a Storefront in a Las Vegas Casino

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Look out Shania Twain, Emmanuel Perrotin has arrived in Las Vegas. The eponymous gallerist has opened a storefront in the Bellagio Resort Casino that he hopes will deepen appreciation for contemporary art in the infamous Sin City. In a statement, Perrotin gallery said it hopes its new outpost in Las Vegas will produce “unique experiences,” as well as offer sculptures, prints, paintings, books and ephemera.

This is not the French dealer’s first outing in Vegas, however. Elevating the idea of hotel lobby art, the contemporary artist Paola Pivi, with Perrotin’s support, installed 51 neon-coloured stuffed bears hanging from the ceiling of the lobby of the ARIA resort and casino in September 2021. 

Hoping to presumably spearhead other projects like this, the mega gallery’s foray into Nevada seems determined on activating a roster of more public-facing projects throughout the Bellagio resort’s spaces.

With a whopping construction cost of $1.6 billion dollars, the Bellagio was the most expensive hotel ever built when it opened in 1998. It boasts an art collection largely developed by its original founder, the casino magnate Steve Wynn, which includes marquee works by the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Ghada Amer, Jacob Hashimoto, Tomás Esson, Noe Aoki, and Kohei Nawa. 

The resort’s signature attraction are the famous fountains that are synchronized to music, but the hotel and casino are located on a massive 77-acre plot of land that also includes a 156,000 sq ft casino and 3,933 guest rooms, all of which may now get a little taste of Murakami or Cattelan, other artists Perrotin often works with on popular projects. 

Paola Pivi, “We are the baby gang” installed at ARIA Resort and Casino Las Vegas, 2021. Courtesy Perrotin Gallery.

Paola Pivi, installed at ARIA Resort and Casino Las Vegas, 2021. Courtesy Perrotin Gallery.

According to Demecina Beehn, curator of special projects and programs for MGM Resorts, which now owns the Bellagio, “we are excited to bring exclusive Perrotin offerings to our guests and the Las Vegas community.”

It remains to be seen if a public that usually comes to the U.S. gambling capital more for the slot machines than the cultural events will appreciate the effort. An outpost of the Guggenheim Museum, for example, opened in Vegas in 2001, only to shut down seven years later.

In a statement, Emmanuel Perrotin said his vision remains to create a more populist approach to art. 

“Growing up, my parents couldn’t afford to purchase art, but they loved it so much. We could always find something in the gift shop, so our house was always filled with posters,” Perrotin said. “That experience has been central to the development of my gallery. Art is for everyone.”

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