AP

Beyond buffets and slots: Casinos double down on fine art

Jul 8, 2022, 12:26 AM | Updated: 12:36 pm

An image from the "Beyond Van Gogh" exhibit is projected onto a wall at the Hard Rock casino in Atl...

An image from the "Beyond Van Gogh" exhibit is projected onto a wall at the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City, N.J., on Thursday, July 7, 2022. Some casinos are using fine art galleries or exhibitions to draw new customers who might not otherwise visit a gambling hall. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

(AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Louvre, The Museum of Modern Art and … the Hard Rock?

Hoping to expand their appeal beyond the slot machine and buffet crowd, some casinos are turning to fine art galleries or exhibitions to bring in new business from customers who might not otherwise visit a gambling hall.

In the process, they are helping not only broaden their own customer bases, but are also putting new eyeballs in front of some of the world’s great works of art.

One such effort began Friday at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock casino, where the highly acclaimed “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” exhibit opened. The 30,000-square-foot display uses over 300 of Van Gogh’s works, reproducing them digitally and projecting them onto screens, walls and floors.

“The whole point of an experience like this is to bring people in,” said Fanny Curtat, the exhibit’s art historian. “For a lot of people, museums are intimidating. It’s all about exploring and having more ways of experiencing art.”

Joe Lupo, the casino’s president, said casinos need to appeal to as broad a range of potential customers as possible.

“You need to try different experiential things to help the city acquire new visitation, whether it’s art or some other experience to acquire that person who doesn’t look at Atlantic City as just a gaming destination,” he said. “The Van Gogh exhibit has been successful in every major market in the country, and Atlantic City needs to be looked at as one of those major markets. I think it elevates the city and the property with such a high-profile exhibit.”

The walk-through exhibit projects Van Gogh’s artwork onto the walls and floor of a viewing room, with images growing and flowing into one another: cherry trees, for example, sprout and grow blossoms, that then blow away in the breeze. Shimmering walls of color dissolve and flow into other shapes and images all around the viewer.

Other casinos are doing likewise. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art in Las Vegas has displayed works by Picasso, Monet, Warhol, Titian and Van Gogh.

The Palms Casino Resort features modern art pieces from Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol, and numerous street artists.

MGM’s Aria Resort features public art including sculptures by artists including Antony Gormley, Richard Long and Henry Moore.

The Hippodrome Casino in London in 2013 appointed a digital artist in residence, Thomas D Gray, and offers a competition for U.K. artists to have their works displayed there.

Maryland’s Live! Casino & Hotel has an art collection curated by Suzi Cordish, whose husband owns the casino. The collection includes more than 40 works by artists including Warhol, Jennifer Steinkamp, Charlie Ahn, Robert Indiana and Not Vital.

“Many guests are intrigued once they realize the breath of the collection,” said Renee Mutchnik, a spokesperson for the casino. “We believe that any appreciator of the arts would be impressed by our art pieces, and we are always looking for opportunities to promote the collection.”

Placing fine art in casinos benefits not only the gambling halls by appealing to new customers, according to Curtat, the Van Gogh exhibit historian. She said it also helps create new art lovers.

“It might seem like an unlikely pairing, but if anybody gets out of this a feeling that they have this connection with Van Gogh, maybe the next time they are in New York they’ll want to go to (The Museum of Modern Art) and see the actual ‘Starry Night’ on the museum wall,” Curtat said. “That will be a win.”

___

Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

17 hours ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

21 hours ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

1 day ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

2 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

2 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

5 days ago

Beyond buffets and slots: Casinos double down on fine art