enculturating las vegas into the next millennium... art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater, history, nature and everything else that enriches the lives of those who live and visit southern nevada... Since 2003...

Monday, June 06, 2011

Imitation is the best form of flattery...

Backspace Key: Scale X
By Justin Favela
It is not often that an artist appears on the scene and shakes things up a bit. The last artist that comes to mind that did was Aaron Shepard. The only person in the world that holds the honor of putting me in heels and a corset for one of his art shows Midway exhibition 2008. Interestingly enough it was through Aaron's Midway Show at the Contemporary Arts Center that I met another amazing young artist, Las Vegas native Justin Favela. "Favy" as he is affectionately called by his friends is one talented kid and he is proud to take cues from his native city.

In his latest exhibition Justin explores the "High" art of CityCenter's public art collection. CountyCenter is a reinterpretation of some of CityCenter's most iconic works, by using what is known as "appropriation", where an artist transforms the meaning and interpretation of images, objects and ideas through re-contexualization. Though CityCenter and I have always had a lukewarm relationship because of the lack of local artist works as part of their overall collection, Justin on the other hand makes CityCenter's public art look quite amusing and interesting at the same time. By reimagining the works of Claes Oldenberg, Jenny Holzer, Mya Lin and Henry Moore he takes the essence of their works and makes them his own.

Justin's use of the Clark County Government Center's Rotunda could not be a more perfect setting for this show. It is quite obvious that Justin did his homework and utilized the monumentality of the space to re-imagine CityCenter. Even the placing of his appropriation of Mya Lin's "Silver River" which he calls "Silver Creek" is placed perfectly across the windows. The failure of "Silver River" at CityCenter is the fact that they suspended this spectacular sculpture in front of a window as if they really wanted to the public to miss it. Justin capitalizes on this folly and does the same with his Silver Creek. This attention to detail alone should earn Favy an academy award!
Silver Creek
By Justin Favela

What makes Justin Favela's show stand out from the pack is the ephemeral nature of the work itself. By using cardboard, glue and paint Favy's work is quite simply the perfect metaphor for the ephemeral nature of Las Vegas itself. With this kind of creativity running through this artists mind one can only imagine what he will come up with next. I for one am looking forward to many more of his exhibitions.

CountyCenter runs from June 2nd through July 22 with guided tours by Just Favela on June 2 and First Friday June 3rd at 7pm.

Clark County Government Center Rotunda
500 S. Grand Central Parkway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
For more information please call Patrick Gaffey at 702-455-7031

Reclining Connected Forms
By Justin Favela

Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this linkhttp://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm
Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm

Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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