While Vegas waits for its art museum, how about some warehouse-sized gallery pop-ups?


You ought to check out the 14th Factory (, a group art exhibition curated by artist Simon Birch inside an abandoned warehouse in LA’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood. (Perhaps you’ve seen one of its pieces trending in your Instagram feed: a near-perfect replica of the sterile hotel suite from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.) Critical consensus on the pop-up exhibit is split, but there’s no denying the crowds it’s drawing to what was recently a no-man’s-land. It recalls this past spring, when Nevada Art Museum’s Tilting the Basin group show took over a warehouse space on Commerce Street in Downtown Las Vegas.

Tilting and 14th Factory are different creatures, but they both generated tremendous interest where there was none before, spiritually or spatially. Las Vegas, patiently awaiting the arrival its homegrown art museum, could use that kind of enthusiasm to keep the museum fires stoked, and it looks like it’s getting some. Sin City Gallery’s popular 12 Inches of Sin group show ( takes over a one-off location near Commercial Center the weekend of July 21, and more encouraging still, one of the drivers behind the gestating Art Museum at Symphony Park has pop-up plans.

AMSP partners Katie O’Neill and Michele C. Quinn have their hands full right now, raising funds for the museum and talking to the Reno-based Nevada Museum of Art about a possible merger. And Quinn herself is preparing for a Raymond Pettibon retrospective at her gallery, MCQ Fine Art, this September. (Ever seen the Black Flag logo, or the cover to Sonic Youth’s Goo? Then you know Pettibon’s work.) But Quinn is going further still: She’s working with developer Steven Molasky to convert some of the warehouses on Commerce into gallery spaces, ranging in size from intimate to factory-big.

Unfortunately, what Quinn and Molasky are calling the Smart Initiative might not see its first exhibitions until 2018. “We tried to make something happen for 2017, but the time window was too tight,” Quinn says, citing shifting artist schedules and still-active construction in the spaces. But she says gallery shows, perhaps even Tilting-sized ones, are coming to those warehouse spaces next year. The fire will stay lit.

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