LAS VEGAS (June 2020) – Las Vegas artist James Stanford has completed his new mural at The Neon Museum’s Reed Whipple building. The monumental mural, entitled “From the Land Beyond,” taken from the film “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad” (1958), was commissioned by the Cultural Corridor Coalition as part of the beautification of Downtown Las Vegas through public art projects.
The Land Beyond
The vibrant installation spans 154 x 19 square feet and covers the south wall of The Neon Museum’s newly acquired building, located across the street from the museum. Throughout his career, James Stanford has reimagined Las Vegas’ landmarks and symbols through a range of cultural lenses. His work provides a contemporary complement to The Neon Museum’s mission of preserving Las Vegas’ iconic signs.
Stanford’s design pays homage to early Las Vegas hotels, starting with the Stardust Resort & Casino, which was imploded in 2007. Many of its historic signs are on display in The Neon Museum Boneyard. The artwork includes two large Moai carved from lava rock, which pay tribute to the Stardust’s Aku Aku Polynesian restaurant and Tiki Bar. He also depicts the Dunes’ Sultan from the famed hotel and casino, which closed in 1993 making way for the Bellagio, which opened in 1998.
The vast mural is situated nearby Stanford’s 2,000-square-foot mural, “A Phalanx of Angels Ascending,” completed by the artist in 2019 for The 705 building, an arts incubator. “A Phalanx of Angels Ascending” commemorates the iconic Blue Angel statue that watched over Downtown Las Vegas for 61 years from its mid-century perch at the Blue Angel Motel.
Rob McCoy, president and chief executive officer, The Neon Museum, says “James Stanford’s wonderful new mural at the Neon Museum is exciting and visually arresting. These are three of the most iconic Las Vegas images – a unique story in the evolution of Las Vegas.”
Stanford’s new commission, along with “A Phalanx of Angels Ascending,” are monumental testaments to the Cultural Corridor known for its museums and cultural landmarks, including The Neon Museum, Las Vegas Natural History Museum and the Old Mormon Fort. The artist designed his new installation to stand in unison with his Blue Angel mural, greeting visitors as they enter the Cultural Corridor. Stanford has served as a pioneering advocate of the Las Vegas arts and culture scene and, through these two works, he highlights key aspects of the area’s history through his vibrant new visions of Las Vegas’ iconic signage.
Marilyn Gillespie, Chair of the Cultural Corridor Coalition, states, “The new James Stanford mural is a fantastic improvement to the neighbourhood. The mural is like a welcoming beacon to the Cultural Corridor.”
The mural is sponsored by Dunn-Edwards Paints, Las Vegas Natural History Museum, The Neon Museum, Frankie’s Tiki Room, The Bunkers Group and private donors. Laura Henkel of ArtCulture PR curated the project.
About the Neon Museum
Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organisation dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. On its 2.27-acre campus, the Neon Museum houses an outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard (“boneyard” is traditionally the name for an area where items no longer in use are stored); the North Gallery, home to the night-time augmented-reality, audio-visual spectacle, “Brilliant!”; the Boulevard Gallery outdoor exhibit and event space; and its visitors’ centre, housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby. The museum collection also includes nine restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas. Public education, outreach, research, archival preservation and a grant-funded neon sign survey represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. Both the Neon Boneyard and the La Concha Visitors’ Centre are located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North in Las Vegas.
About James Stanford
James Stanford is an American artist with a multidisciplinary practice, including photography, digital illustration, painting and drawing. He has dedicated his life to creativity and the fine arts having taught at the University of Washington and the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Based in Las Vegas, he is widely known for his edition series of Shimmering Zen, a group of digitally reinvented mosaics and patterns that have an immaterial and spiritual quality evoking the artist’s strong connection to Zen Buddhism. He founded Smallworks Press, an independent publisher of art and culture books in 2006, and has since collaborated with a wide-spectrum of artists, authors and talent to create works and beautiful chromatic illustrations and stimulating interpretation with the finest print quality.