Over the past few decades, Las Vegas, Nevada has been transformed from a quiet and remote frontier town into one of AmericaÆs premier resort and vacation destinations. Alan Hess (1993) and Venturi, Brown, and Izenour (1978) have examined Las Vegas in two very different time periods. Venturi, Brown, and Izenour (1978) studied at Las Vegas because they characterized it as represented a new form of American urbanism. Hess (1993) examined Las VegasÆ transformation from an adult-oriented gambling Mecca into a family-friendly themed entertainment center in which new architectural and art forms could be identified.
Las Vegas in general and the Las Vegas Strip in particular can be understood as presenting a unique portrait of urban entertainment and themed venues (Hess, 1993). At issue in the proposed research study is the question of whether the new hotels, casinos, decorative elements, and art collections that are to be found on the Las Vegas Strip are examples of a new aesthetic in public art or whether they simply represent a new approach to themed entertainment.
Public art has been characterized by Redstone and Redstone (1981) as an expression of the multifaceted character of a society. In the United States and in most other countries, the idea of ôpublic artö tends to encompass paintings, sculptures, fountains, buildings, murals, and other structures that serve the function of fulfilling a spiritual need and which are positioned in publicly owned spaces after having passed through a creative development and vetting process that moves ôartö from the private to the public sphere. Public art, like private art, is seen by Redstone and Redstone (1981) as serving to stimulate the thoughts of the onlooker and satisfy his or her aesthetic requirements.
Levy (1994, p. 1), in a thesis exploring the nexus between architectural spaces on the Las Vegas Strip and public art, stated: ôA synthesis of art and architecture, of...