If the title of Justin Favela’s solo show, CountyCenter, doesn’t ring a bell, his work at the Clark County Government Center surely will—a silver river suspended, a large typewriter backspace key and panels featuring phrases.
Sound familiar? Yes, yes. CityCenter. More specifically, highlights from its art collection. Using cardboard as his medium, Favela delves into the art of appropriation, copying a handful of CityCenter works for the Rotunda Gallery with a clever parody that explores contrasts and similarities of architectural space and visual noise, the idea of spectacle and Las Vegas’ ephemeral nature.
There is obvious humor. On one end we have a $40 million art collection, on the other, an artist’s interpretations using an ample supply of cardboard and a $17 glue gun. One collection is housed in a $9 billion opulent bouquet of high-end resorts, the other in a county building where government and civic affairs are handled.
Then there are the works (rudimentary construction rather than refined fabrication), recontextualized to reflect Clark County. Favela’s take on Maya Lin’s “Silver River” does not reference the Colorado River as in Lin’s piece, but the Las Vegas wash. An 11-foot computer backspace key used by government center employees riffs on Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X.”
And if you thought it impossible for Favela to appropriate, in cardboard and paint, Jenny Holzer’s large-scale digital scrolling “phrasisms” spanning Aria’s valet area, there it is.
There’s more. The artist folds guided tours of the Government Center into the exhibit. From concept to execution, it’s a clever show. And for some, Favela’s cardboard interpretation of Henry Moore’s “Reclining Connected Forms” might be more intriguing than the original.