Las Vegas artists say farewell to the Riviera at Blackbird

A piece by David Sanchez Burr on display at “Riviera Bon Voyage” curated by Brent Holmes at Blackbird Studios in Las Vegas, Nev. on Aug. 14, 2015.
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore

Riviera Bon Voyage

In the Riviera’s final days, artist Brent Holmes organized a themed show based on the legendary hotel, stemming from access the artists would hopefully gain after it closed. When that didn’t materialize, artists camped out or milled about the still-operational casino and corridors, capturing its aura from vignettes while culling personal memories.

The resulting works created in media that play directly into the hotel’s character include snapshots, Polaroids and poolside video footage.

Erin Stellmon’s realist drawing depicts (or even archives) a gaming cashout voucher from the hotel’s final day, unfolded and offering a return of $.07 as if it had just been pulled from someone’s pocket. Robert Beckmann contributed sketches for a mural he was commissioned to paint on the hotel in the 1990s and Stewart Freshwater included sketches he made at the Riv’s Monday night jazz program.

David Sanchez Burr used his 3D scanner to capture what would soon be artifacts and shot footage of tourists at the pool, adding an effect that melts the image and disappears it slowly in an underwater scenario. In the spirit of Las Vegas, he fractalized a scene, reinventing it into a new design.

The work of the 11 artists in Riviera Bon Voyage is at Blackbird Studios. Holmes says in addition to imploding these landmarks, there should be “another tradition of venerating them.”

Riviera Bon Voyage By appointment. Blackbird Studios, 1551 S. Commerce St. #A, 702-782-0319,

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