In April 2012, a British businessman made headlines when he claimed that during a 2010 visit to Las Vegas he unknowingly purchased an early Andy Warhol drawing for just $5 at a garage sale. There was early speculation that the artwork could fetch as much as $2 million; however, multiple experts have since called the discovery a hoax.
What is certainly not a hoax are the 56 pieces of Warhol’s work on display at Las Vegas' grand Bellagio resort and casino. The collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs, screen prints and wallpaper are part of the "Warhol Out West" exhibit at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA).
Organized in partnership with The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, this pioneering collection is centered around the iconic artist’s depiction of all things Western. Exhibits include Warhol’s 1960s Pop paintings of celebrities and consumer products; the 1980s advertisement series; the beloved "Double Elvis" painting; and his rarely seen "Cowboys and Indians" series.
"Our exhibit at Bellagio is the only comprehensive Andy Warhol collection in the United States outside of his namesake museum in Pittsburgh and we recognize what a tremendous honor this is for our city," said Tarissa Tiberti, executive director of BGFA. "Everywhere you look in Las Vegas, you can see the impact of Warhol’s creative genius and it is remarkable how his life and art continue to transcend generations."
One of the pioneers in the visual art movement known as Pop Art and one of the most noted contemporary gay artists, Warhol based his creative depiction of celebrity, advertisements, comic books and brand products within the realm of popular culture.
Eric Shiner, director of The Andy Warhol Museum, said, "We hope visitors to the gallery think about the relationship of the images in front of them with the landscape of Las Vegas, from the kitsch to the fabulous and everything in between. As Las Vegas is key to understanding America, there is no better place than Bellagio for us to share our Andy Warhol artworks. Whether Elvis, Liz, Campbell’s Soup or a Brillo Box, Warhol’s subjects represent America in all of its many guises."
"Warhol Out West" is on view through October 27, 2013. Tickets are $16 for general admission; $13 for Nevada residents and seniors 65 and older; and $11 for students, teachers and military with valid ID. Children 12 and younger are free. Tickets and information are available by calling (702) 693-7871 or (877) 957-9777, or online at bellagio.com. Audio tours are included in the price of admission and complimentary docent tours are available daily at 2 p.m. BGFA is open daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Last admissions are sold 30 minutes prior to closing.
The AAA Five Diamond Bellagio resort and casino, with its 3,933 guest rooms and suites, is a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.
Information on visiting gay-friendly Las Vegas is available from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.