Las Vegas Sun

October 25, 2014

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Sculptor may leave her mark on Las Vegas

At the end of a slide-show lecture on Friday about an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, chief curator Paul Schimmel landed on one final slide.

It had nothing to do with the MOCA exhibit "Ecstasy: In and About Altered States." The slide was a rendering of a Nancy Rubins sculpture bursting from the side of a building.

Then came the surprise: Schimmel told the audience at the Las Vegas Art Museum that such a sculpture was in the works for Las Vegas.

Rubins in Las Vegas? How wildly progressive.

The internationally recognized contemporary sculptor builds with unlikely materials - airplane parts, boats, trailers, hot water heaters and mattresses. The sculptures, magnificent in size, appear so precariously balanced that they are often called gravity-defying.

"Chas' Stainless Steel, Mark Thompson's Airplane Parts," a 1,000-pound structure made of used airplane parts, was installed outside MOCA in 2001. The 54-foot expanse rests on a narrow center support structure.

"Big Pleasure Points," 45-feet high and 55-feet wide, was installed temporarily this summer at Josie Robertson Plaza in Lincoln Center. A New York Times headline aptly referred to it as a "Bouquet of Boats."

"Pleasure Point," another boat sculpture, was completed in January at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Rowboats, canoes, jet skis and surfboards erupt from the side of the museum in La Jolla.

Schimmel, who referred to the Rubins image as a nice treat for the audience, said that the Las Vegas sculpture would also include boats.

A few other members of the Las Vegas art community say they heard that Rubins was being considered, but a representative for Rubins, and Alan Feldman, spokesman for MGM Mirage, aren't confirming anything yet.

Feldman says that Project CityCenter has an art program and large-scale projects are being discussed, but wouldn't say whether Rubins was part of that discussion. "It wouldn't be appropriate to get into details at this time, but there is an extensive public arts program," he said.

Libby Lumpkin, the consulting executive director of the Las Vegas Art Museum who organized the lecture, said that she has also heard that Rubins was a potential candidate for CityCenter.

Completion of the $7 billion CityCenter is expected in late 2009.