Las Vegas’s grand cultural ambitions have come to a halt with the real estate crash and migration of gambling to Asia, according to the Wall Street Journal:
In the latest blow, David Hickey and Libby Lumpkin, an academic couple who propelled the city’s artistic ambitions, are leaving Las Vegas as well. Mr. Hickey, 71 years old, and Ms. Lumpkin, 58, became a prominent couple in the city in part because of the notoriety they were able to create around its emerging arts scene.
“They brought a lot of attention to the city,” said Elizabeth Herridge, who directed the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum at the Venetian casino in Las Vegas before that gallery closed in 2008. “This is such a visual city. It’s really kind of odd that we can’t have something that is a bricks-and-mortar expression of that interest.”
Mr. Hickey who won a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 2001, helped build up an international reputation for the art and creative-writing departments at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His work found intellectual inspiration in the kitschy design for which Las Vegas is known. “Air Guitar,” his 1997 book, argues that the city’s neon skyline and the giant rhinestone in its Liberace Museum have the same excitement as highbrow fare.
Ms. Lumpkin, curated the collections of casino mogul Steve Wynn and served as director of the Las Vegas Art Museum. They are leaving this summer to join the faculty at the University of New Mexico.
Drivers of the Las Vegas Art Scene Cash Out (Wall Street Journal)