High Art Meets Low in Vegas as Lucky DeBellevue Crafts Up the Cosmopolitan Hotel

An inventive Art Production Fund project in sin city

Lucky DeBellevue (Courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)
Lucky DeBellevue. (Photo: Courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)

It’s pipe-cleaner art—but much better!

Louisiana-born but New York-based artist Lucky DeBellevue is bringing his love for unusual “inconsequential materials” in fine art to the Las Vegas Strip. In collaboration with the Art Production Fund, the Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas is featuring Artist-in-Residence Mr. DeBellevue in an interactive exhibit, Collaboration/Exchange until April 12thMr. DeBellevue has invited the hotel guests and visitors to participate in two projects he’s conducting at the studio.

One of the projects combines Mr. DeBellevue’s love for DIY and “low art materials” in “high art context.” Guests weave silver chenille stems, also known as pipe cleaners (flashback to elementary school art class), as he builds a collection of woven sculptures.

“The pipe cleaner thing started as kind of a joke, but I fell in love with it,” Mr. DeBellevue told the Observer. “I now really enjoy making work in that material.” Along with pipe cleaners, Mr. DeBellevue has incorporated other “low art materials” into work featured on his website, including pistachio shells, plastic bags and wood. It is this spirit and innovation that left the New York Times regarding one show by Mr. DeBellevue as “quietly inventive,” his art “brilliantly economical,” and a “whole new lease on life.”

For his second project a the Cosmopolitan, which goes on at the same time, Mr. DeBellevue has worked with guests and visitors to the Hotel gallery on their own printmaking, and will then round off the project attempting to recreate those prints, himself, from memory. He has then been putting the “ghost replicas” on display, he said.


(Photo: Courtesy of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)
(Photo: Courtesy of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)

While he is essentially and always the artist, Mr. DeBellevue is encouraging the audience to get their hands dirty. “I’m trying to let go a little bit, let people do what they want,” Mr. DeBellevue told the Observer. Thus the audience will not only be contributing in the exhibit, but also taking a piece of their work home, as Mr. DeBellevue is allowing them to keep their prints.

While he is mainly known for his abstract sculptures, his focus is slowly shifting to painting and prints, as exemplified in his second project of Collaboration/Exchange. His resume also includes solo exhibits at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and Feature Inc., and group exhibits at RISD’s Museum of Art, the Tate Modern, the Andrew Kreps gallery and much more.

(Photo: Courtesy of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)
(Photo: Courtesy of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)

The P3 Studio and Artist-in-Residence program is a new initiative by the Cosmopolitan and the Art Production Fund to allow guests to become a “fly on the wall” in an artist’s studio. The exhibitions, which are free and open to the public, allow the audience to “touch, feel, hear and experience” an artist at work. P3 Studio and the residency as a whole are “developed and curated in partnership with Art Production Fund,” the well-known non-profit organization “dedicated to commissioning and producing ambitious public art projects, reaching new audiences and expanding awareness through contemporary art,” according to an APF statement.

Following his time at the P3 Studio, Mr. DeBellevue will be featured in solo exhibits in Zurich, Switzerland and at NADA New York. High Art Meets Low in Vegas as Lucky DeBellevue Crafts Up the Cosmopolitan Hotel