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Art rock: Martin Lawrence Galleries to debut exhibit by Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen

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Martin Lawrence Galleries at The Forum Shops of Caesars Palace offers $50 million in fine art in a sprawling 26,000-square-foot space.

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A multimedia work by Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen will be featured in his debut collection at Martin Lawrence Galleries in The Forum Shops of Caesars Palace from March 22 to April 10, 2013.

Warhol, Picasso, Chagall ... Def Leppard? The British hard rockers will indeed join the company of some of the world’s greatest artists next month with an exclusive exhibit at Martin Lawrence Galleries in The Forum Shops of Caesars Palace.

In honor of the band’s upcoming residency at the Hard Rock Hotel, the gallery will display 10 original works by drummer Rick Allen from March 22 through April 10. Titled “Electric Hand: Rhythm + Change,” Allen’s debut collection features abstract multimedia images exploring how the rhythms of Allen’s drum patterns translate onto canvas.

The dynamic pieces were created in collaboration with Los Angeles-based art and design firm SceneFour, which used time-lapse imaging to capture the rhythms and gestures made by Allen with lighted drumsticks of varying colors, widths and temperatures.

“The collection reveals something that up until recently I didn't even know existed -- presenting sound into light," Allen said in a statement about his work. “We know what rhythm and drum beats sound like, but what do they look like? This is a window and a new way to define the drum beat and the rhythm as visual. It opens another dimension up, something that the eye doesn’t see until it is bottled up -- a rhythmic performance -- exposed in a single image.”

Allen will be on hand for two Q+A's at the gallery to discuss his work and meet fans March 28 and April 4. The works in his premiere show will be available for viewing and purchase.

Couched alongside the gallery’s chrome-framed Warhol “Mick Jagger” suite, Allen’s exhibit is in sync with and a departure from the rare fine art tradition that has made Martin Lawrence Galleries a top name in the world of fine art retail.

Martin Lawrence Galleries, which has been in business for more than 35 years and includes locations in nine other U.S. cities, opened its Las Vegas gallery in a sprawling 26,000-square-foot space at The Forum Shops in 2011, offering more than $50 million of art to collectors; some 250 artworks in its collections have been loaned to museums across the world.

The Las Vegas-based gallery has built its reputation touting rarities like Warhol’s “Cowboys and Indians” (including pieces not featured in the Bellagio’s current exhibit) and a Chagall “Odyssey” suite, as well as by featuring leading contemporary work from the likes of Takashi Murakami, Felix Mas and Philippe Bertho.

Allen’s work falls in line with the gallery’s boundary-pushing ethos, but also marks a break from tradition as its first collaboration with a celebrity. For the gallery’s director, Stacie Goulet, the collaboration is an opportunity to bridge the worlds of art and music and to see what results from bringing their respective clientele together.

“It’s experimental on everybody’s end. Because of the long-term nature of their residency, it will bring different groups of people in over the course of three weeks and introduce new artwork to his clientele, and then his fan base will come in, which will be new clientele for us. So it’s really a collaboration of sharing each other’s worlds for three weeks,” Goulet says.

Goulet is cautiously optimistic about what the show’s crossover potential means for the gallery’s future. She explains that while Martin Lawrence Galleries has no plans to shift away from its specialty of building multimillion-dollar fine art collections, she views Allen’s upcoming exhibit as opening a door to work with artists in other markets -- and to edge up over the gallery’s competitors.

“It’s a really cool type of medium, and we don’t have anything like that in the gallery now. They’re really beautifully done,” Goulet says. “But with the names that we carry, it needs to be somebody highly recognizable. Rick is going to be one of those very rare opportunities that we do crossovers. We’re not going to look to expand it in that direction necessarily, but we want to do something that’s a little different from what other [commerical art galleries] are doing.

“The price points with Rick’s work, like with some of our contemporary artists, are really accessible and reasonable. I think it will be a nice segue for other artists, like musicians and actors who do art, and this will make a bridge toward that.”

Details for Allen's appearances March 28 and April 4 are below; he also will be unveiling and signing a limited-edition exhibition art print.

6 to 7 p.m. – View Rick Allen art, videos and enjoy the music of Def Leppard; 7 to 8 p.m: Q+A - “Rick Allen Presents: Electric Hand: Rhythm + Change”; 8 to 9 p.m. – Rick Allen art signing (for those who purchase prints).

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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