In October, MGM Resorts sold 11 works by Pablo Picasso, decades-old installations in the casino restaurant, for a total of $108 million. Sotheby’s conducted the sale on location at MGM Bellagio in Las Vegas, and while several works by Picasso remain in the collection, the resort entity is now aiming to refocus its art collections.
MGM Resorts this week unveiled new acquisitions to its public art collection as it remodels and modernizes its offerings with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Works acquired by Rashid Johnson, Sanford Biggers, Derrick Adams, Ghada Amer, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Tomas Esson and Svenja Deininger are among new contemporary artists featured alongside existing works by artists such as Sam Gilliam, Lorna Simpson, Nick Cave, Jenny Holzer and Nancy Rubins at MGM Resorts properties.
The company’s goal is to provide an expansive platform for artists of color, women, and the LGBTQIA+ community — and to amplify those voices across its portfolio, reads a statement from MGM.
“We believe in the power of art to open minds, change perspectives and create transformation in society,” said Ari Kastrati, Hospitality Director of MGM Resorts. “Adding these talented artists to our portfolio reflects MGM’s commitment to championing inclusion and ensuring the collection more closely reflects our diverse communities. This commitment is at the heart of our company’s core values and permeates everything we do.
Tarissa Tiberti, Executive Director of MGM Resorts Art & Culture, said: “The acquisition of works by Rashid Johnson, Sanford Biggers, Derrick Adams, Ghada Amer, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Tomás Esson and Svenja Deininger propels the MGM Resorts Fine Collection Art in meaningful ways in our goal to give voice to underrepresented artists. We look forward to sharing these important pieces with our guests around the world and sparking conversation around all they represent.
New acquisitions include:
- One of Rachid JohnsonThe three-dimensional wall works of Cosmic Slop Series composed of black soap and microcrystalline wax, which are melted together and then poured by hand to create unique surfaces.
- A small bronze sculpture of Oracle (2021) by Sanford’s Greatestwith a seated body reminiscent of the Temple of Zeus with a head inspired by the masks and sculptures of African cultures.
- A new mixed media painting by Derrick Adams‘ Float series, currently in production. Talk about sound Float parts with vogue, Adams said, “I wanted to occupy a different space from all the artists who were talking about issues of race, trauma and oppression. People could not exist if they lived in constant grief. My work focuses on the idea that it is crucial for black people to think of leisure as a radical act.
- Two of Ghada AmerThe acrylic, embroidery and gel-on-canvas works of his series The Women I Know Part II, which includes embroidered and painted portraits of women Amer knows personally. For each portrait, the artist includes phrases and quotes regarding feminist and social issues, including lines such as “Don’t fit in the glass slipper like Cinderella did – break the glass ceiling.” Of the series, Amer said, “I now feel freed from the canon of art history and the father figures of painting. The only reference now in my work is the subject, that is to say the painting itself.
- Jonathan Lyndon Chaseit’s The cooker (2019). The artist notes: “I try to paint very honestly with a delicacy for the body. I’m a big softie, and have been described as vulnerable and transparent. I like to feel a connection with people. In my work, I think about how queer bodies, black bodies are very complex.
- Oil on linen works Quimera (2021) and Anestesia (2018) by the US-based Cuban-born artist Tomas Essonknown for his “gestural visual forms” and “dark subjects”.
- by Svenja Deininger Untitled of a new body of work reflecting the artist’s deliberate yet fluid explorations of the dialogues between form, color, texture and surface that reside in his complex compositions.