Casinos: An Unlikely Destination for Art Treasures

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, April 25, 2024

Casinos: An Unlikely Destination for Art Treasures

As the art world undergoes a change of pace unlike any we have seen in generations, two of the defining questions are those of access and context. Where should the world's greatest artists be shown, and who should have access to them?

It is clear to those with even a passing interest in the art world that official galleries and museums are no longer the primary, prestigious magnets for quality art. On one side of the scale, we are seeing many artists flocking to display their works in private island 'art resorts' marketed to billionaires, such as the new Hauser & Wirth enclave off the coast of Menorca.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have an increased push by established artists to improve accessibility to their works, with the likes of anti-establishment artists such as Banksy, Jeff Koons, and Damien Hirst all doing more to create publicly available works of art in recent years.

As this crucial question about the future of art evolves, the opinion leaders and tastemakers in the industry will surely be taking a closer look at the different types of venues that host art. One fascinating case study that perfectly represents the conflicts between art and capitalism, which happens to be one of the most popular types of exhibition space for priceless works of art, is the casino.

For decades and even centuries, casinos have housed some of the world's most beautiful art treasures, with every indication suggesting that their role as custodians will continue to grow in the years to come. To better illustrate this important point, let's take a closer look at some of the top casinos that house works of art.

Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV
The prestigious Bellagio Hotel, with its iconic fountains on the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, has always sought to position itself as a cut above the rest. As such, the resort began collecting artworks in the late 90s, as part of a concerted effort to build itself into a global arts destination that continues to this day.

At the breathtakingly curated Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, you'll find works from Warhol, Picasso, Lichtenstein, Monet, Van Gogh, and Georgia O'Keeffe, to name just a few. For those fortune seekers who are drawn to the promises of riches that Las Vegas offers, Bellagio's collection of genuine Faberge Eggs is not to be missed.

Casino de Monte Carlo, Monaco
First founded by the creme de la creme of French nobility at the height of the decadent Second Empire, it should come as no surprise that Monaco's ultra-exclusive Casino de Monte Carlo is home to priceless artistic treasures. From the breathtaking sculptures of Edouard André to the spellbinding geometric shapes of Victor Vasarely, this casino is an art historian's paradise.

The priceless art and opulent glamour have made the Monte Carlo experience an influential and sought-after aesthetic. We can see this with casino fans accessing these types of aesthetics from their home, thanks to live-stream roulette. Immersive digital casino platforms allow players to enjoy Monaco-style French roulette with a real croupier, via a live-stream video link to a sumptuous roulette lounge inspired by the design of casinos such as the Casino de Monte Carlo.

The Palms, Las Vegas, NV
The Palms may not be the most exclusive casino resort in Sin City, but it certainly has the most impressive art legacy. Owing largely back to its early days as a stomping ground for the local elite, The Palms has managed to accrue the kind of art collection that some of the world's top gallerists and curators covet. Take a seat in the hotel's steakhouse restaurant and soak up a quartet of artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Head to the women's bathroom and be confronted with a toilet stall decorated to look like a birthday cake, created by Scott Hove.

Stroll up to the front desk and see an instantly recognizable mural by Olivia Steele, bearing the words "Wish You Were Here!". The most interesting case study in this intersection between capitalist excess and art concerns the penthouse suite, which rents at $100,000 per night according to Business Insider. Here, you'll find an extensive collection of works by none other than Damien Hirst, who designed the room himself. If you have six figures to spare, his oeuvre can be yours for the weekend.

These are just a few of the ways in which casinos are increasingly becoming entwined with the global art world. Expect this list to grow substantially in the years to come.

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