In the cacophony of sight and sound that is the Las Vegas Strip, it seems unlikely that people will spot a small black vinyl marker discreetly placed on a glass window of a terrace. Not with the noisy traffic, the giant, screaming LED signs and the vendors selling “ice cold water” to the hustle and bustle weaving across the pedestrian bridge to the Cosmopolitan.
But what if, by some miracle of miracles, the Richard Artschwager “blp” affixed to the glass on the side of the Cosmo catches someone’s eye, and suddenly gets them focusing on their immediate environment, maybe even contemplating the precisely square corner of the building jutting into the blue desert sky?
Then they’d have had the experience that Artschwager intended back in the 1960s when he came up with the blps—a conceptual project designed to get others to focus on, and consider, their surroundings by marking them with the flat capsule that on its own is visually irrelevant but has power. As Artschwager, who died in February, once explained, “On a white wall it will control the wall.” But just how much control it will have on one of the busiest, loudest, most mind-numbing stretches of road in America remains to be seen.
Three of Artschwager’s blps have been placed around Cosmo for visitors to discover, while the rest are in locations throughout LA. The blps’ arrival here is part of a partnership between the resort, LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) and the LA-based Hammer Museum, where the retrospective Richard Artschwager! is on view through September 1.
This may be just the beginning of public projects in Las Vegas through LAND, which is exploring other opportunities here. Development director Laura Hyatt says that Vegas has long been a site of interest for a multitude of reasons, particularly “the confluence of time periods and cultures, the utopian/dystopian structures and quite literally, its physical landscape.”
For now, the blps are part of that landscape. As to where, exactly, that’s for you to discover.
Richard Artschwager’s blps, through September 30. Cosmopolitan, cosmopolitanlasvegas.com.