Art for High Rollers: See the Flashy Contemporary Art That Adorns Las Vegas’s Most Blinged-Out New Casino

Following a $620 million renovation, the revamped casino reopened with a brand new art display.

The Damien Hirst-designed Unknown bar. Courtesy of the Palms Hotel and Casino.

Las Vegas’s newly renovated Palms Hotel and Casino is going all in on art.

The hotel, casino, and resort unveiled its extensive blue-chip contemporary art collection following a major $620 million renovation. The rehang mixes blue-chip artists like Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Takashi Murakami with poppy contemporary artists like KAWS and Dustin Yellin.

“Guests are brought on a visual journey from the minute they walk in the door and will find special touches at every corner, from our gaming felts down to the mini-bar,” Palms general manager Jon Gray said in a statement. “We have curated a collection that is bold, relevant to today’s traveler and most of all a truly interactive experience.”

Works by Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Scotch 80 Prime steak restaurant. Photo courtesy of the Palms Hotel and Casino.

The centerpiece of the resort’s arty approach is the Unknown bar, dedicated to works by Damien Hirst. The display is dominated by Hirst’s The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded), a 13-foot-long tiger shark divided into three parts floating in steel tanks. The bar also houses 16 new spot paintings from the artist’s “Pharmaceutical” series. The artist himself also designed a number of elements in the bar, including coasters, matchsticks, and swizzle sticks.

The man behind the display is Palms curator Tal Cooperman, who joined the team shortly after the casino was acquired by brothers and art collectors Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. Cooperman built the display around the unusual combination of major blue-chip works and street art.

Christopher Wool prints. Photo courtesy of the Palms Hotel and Casino.

In the resort’s Scotch 80 Prime steak restaurant, for example, guests are greeted by an eight-foot rendition of one of KAWS’ signature “companion” sculptures and dine surrounded by blue-chip works like Basquiat’s Speaks for Itself triptych, loaned from the private collection of the Fertitta brothers. Meanwhile, in the Camden Cocktail Lounge, works by graffiti stalwarts KAWS, Eric Haze, and Crash enilven the walls.

“Frank and Lorenzo thought we should give people a chance to see stuff that is more niche,” the curator told the New York Post. “They taught me a lot about blue-chip art, and I’m bringing in ideas from the street.”

Works by Dustin Yellin. Photo: courtesy of the Palms Hotel and Casino.

Some of the art is particularly well suited to its setting. The high-limit lounge presents an Andy Warhol Dollar Sign painting, while the nearby cocktail lounge is decorated with Richard Prince’s aptly titled Nurse in Las Vegas and Las Vegas Nurse. 

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