Las Vegas is a curious place, less a civic center than a loose affiliation of enterprises. More curious has been the success of art there at casinos like the Bellagio. Like so many things in Las Vegas, success can be fleeting and shallow. It was recently announced that plans for a private museum of Contemporary art would not go forward. Now, according to the Las Vegas Sun the Las Vegas Museum is shutting down too:
“We’ve tried everything to keep this afloat. It’s just a challenging time,” said Patrick Duffy, president of the museum board. “The economic climate has eliminated several of our donations” and reduced others significantly. Public funding accounts for just 3 percent of the museum budget, and in a valley of 2 million people, the museum’s membership was just over 1,000. [ . . . ]
Duffy said the museum will keep its name so that it can re-emerge when the economy improves. “We’ll dig ourselves out of this. It’s not a possibility, it’s a probability,” he said. “The arts aren’t dead in Las Vegas. One entity that’s gone does not a cultural community make. We’ve got great gallerists, very passionate gallerists. We’ve got people here who are very passionate about art. It’s just not fair to the community to launch insignificant shows, especially after what we’ve had in the last couple of years.”
The Las Vegas museum just received news that they would be getting the Nevada portion of the Vogel’s 50/50 donation of art to each of the 50 states. Those works will need to find another home in the state.
Strapped Las Vegas Art Museum Plans to Shutter (Las Vegas Sun)