Picture Piece: Fiori di Como

Inside Bellagio, Las Vegas

A ceiling of exquisite glass flowers hangs above an indoor garden, enhancing the lilies and orchards that bloom below. Underneath its translucent glow, the possibility of winning shines bright, for this is Bellagio, Las Vegas’ latest hotel/casino, where an oasis of oil paintings, Prada and a restaurant named Picasso awaits a new audience. While other casinos offer Circuses, pre-fabricated Pyramids, strip shows and the World Series of Poker, Bellagio has art. And where the flowers in Dale Chihuly’s Fiori di Como (1998) are made of glass, the Renoirs, van Goghs and Matisses are real, big ticket items that suggest big game hunters and out of control auctions. The glass ceiling forms part of the official art collection, but also part of the show business that makes casinos run. Its dizzying view mirrors both the money on the green felt and fine art, the newest game behind the velvet ropes.

Issue 44

First published in Issue 44

Jan - Feb 1999

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