Rachid Johnson, Sanford’s Greatest, Derrick Adams, Ghada Amer, Jonathan Lyndon ChaseTo Más Esson, Svenja Deininger first among new Portfolio artists
LA VEGAS, March 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — MGM Resorts reveals new acquisitions for its public art collection as it reshapes and modernizes its offerings with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Works acquired by Rachid Johnson, Sanford’s Greatest, Derrick Adams, Ghada Amer, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Tomas Esson and Svenja Deininger are among the new talents now showcased alongside existing works by artists such as Sam Giliam, Lorna Simpson, Nick Cave, Jenny Holzer and Nancy Rubin at MGM Resorts properties.
The company’s goal is to provide an expansive platform for artists of color, women and the LGBTQIA+ community – and to amplify those voices across its portfolio, reflecting MGM’s commitment to advancing diversity, global equity and inclusion.
“We believe in the power of art to open minds, change perspectives and create transformation in society,” said Ari Kastrati, Hospitality Manager of MGM Resorts. “Adding these talented artists to our portfolio reflects MGM’s commitment to championing inclusion and ensuring the collection more closely reflects our diverse communities. This commitment is at the heart of our company’s core values and is imbued with everything we do.”
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New artists in the collection include:
Rachid Johnson – One of today’s most prominent contemporary artists, Johnson combines photography, sculpture and painting to inspire conversation about race and class. Using materials that correspond to moments in history – including specific references to African-American life – Johnson aims to create art that can serve as a bridge across cultural barriers. Of his work, Johnson said, “I think of Cosmic Slops as paintings. I think it’s a process for me that has helped me reintroduce painting into my practice. I come to the studio often and c It’s almost a meditative space for me to be able to do a Cosmic Slop. It works almost like stretching before a workout. That’s when I have to start understanding my body, thinking about the materials I’m used, to reflect on the authenticity of my gesture and how I am the author of this gesture. And it feels entirely mine… I think there is an opportunity for truth there- down. And we don’t have so many opportunities to be so genuine and so genuine and so real. And I think that particular body of work from me is very real.”
Sanford’s Greatest – Powerful and poignant, Biggers’ work offers perspective on key moments in American history by emphasizing neglected cultural narratives from a social, political, and economic perspective. Last summer, Biggers’ greatest work to date – his monumental bronze sculpture, Oracle – was on display at Rockefeller Center. Oracle draws on Biggers’ Chimera series, which combines African masks and European figures to shed light on how Greco-Roman and African sculpture was transformed over time to reinforce often misunderstood perspectives on culture and aesthetics. Oracle is a seated body reminiscent of the Temple of Zeus with a head inspired by the masks and sculptures of African cultures.
Derrick Adams – Adams is a painter who uses patterns, collages, and a bold palette to create graphic paintings that are iconic of black culture. In particular, the artist probes how the experiences of Black Americans relate to American iconography, art history, urban environments, and consumerism. In his Float series, Adams depicts characters relaxing in pools of water, suggesting respite is a political statement when embraced by black communities. Talk about sound Float parts with vogue, Adams said: “I wanted to occupy a space different from all the artists who spoke about issues of race, trauma and oppression. People could not exist if they lived in constant mourning. My work is focused on the idea of importance is for black people to think of leisure as a radical act.” At Adams Float works and his oeuvre as a whole, black joy and possibility remain at the forefront, evoked through scenes of leisure and normality – rethinking the perceptions that media and visual culture often put forward.
Ghada Amer – While Amer’s art spans painting, cast sculpture, ceramics, works on paper, garden and multimedia installations, she is widely known for her expertise in depicting women through wire. Focused on the portrayal of femininity in diverse contexts, Amer’s work serves to empower women to realize their true identity and reach their full potential outside of cultural and religious norm constructs often shaped by masculine views. .
Jonathan Lyndon Chase – Chase’s work focuses on the nuances of queer black life in vivid portraits, showing subjects in various aspects of domestic life. Comprising painting, collage, and drawing, Chase’s bold canvases often depict floating heads and bodies overlapping against colorful, ambiguous backgrounds and explore how closeness is essential to community connectedness. Regarding Chase’s approach to their work, the artist said, “I try to paint very honestly with a delicacy for the body. I’m a big softie, and I’ve been described as being vulnerable and transparent. I like to feel a connection to people. In my work, I think about how queer bodies, black bodies are very complex.
Tomas Esson – Tomás Esson’s work reflects his love for painting but is tempered by the dark subject matter that many of his works depict. Esson was born in Cuba but emigrated to the United States in the early 1990s. His works are often inspired by the cultural challenges of the 1980s. The mythical creatures depicted in Esson’s paintings are grotesque and have an identity of their own, free from references and illustrative weaknesses. The “Miami Flow” paintings, which began in 2015, intensify the bursts of landscape that have always been present in Esson’s figurative works into a dynamic abstraction. Beginning with sexualized flowers and lascivious vegetation in the early paintings of the series, the “speed” of the work eventually led the “Miami Flow” paintings to become increasingly abstract, cut off from any obvious referent. Esson here borrows the logic of the coupling of forms (from ancient animation) to intensify an abstract vision. It is almost as if the sub-visual dynamics of the landscapes – the microbial and chemical transaction – are magnified into gestural visual forms.
Svenja Deininger – Extended time is crucial in the composition of Deininger’s work: starting with an initial visual concept, through a gradual process of juxtaposing patterns, tones, shapes and memories from a vast archive of art historical references, Deininger’s configurations eventually emerge. Yet such a composition can be recalibrated by a series of changes in the organization of pictorial space. It is a patient, continuous, even obsessive process of working out and adjusting the possibilities of a distinct vocabulary of forms and its multiple incarnations. Time, or rather the abundance of time, is the key to another crucial aspect of Deininger’s work: the surface, not to say the skin. On closer inspection, Deininger’s paintings reveal a carefully measured system of surface treatments of form: a series of patient gestures of painting, scraping, polishing and repainting. It is a process that allows light to have a determining role on every painted surface. The result is a layering of clearly defined patterns processed with a variety of techniques, producing different textures with tiny deviations in thickness. her practice is an organic and holistic cycle of creation, using time to look and time to do as equal and decisive forces. A practice where looking is thinking is acting.
Tarissa TibertiExecutive Director of MGM Resorts Art & Culture, said: “The acquisition of works by Rachid Johnson, Sanford’s Greatest, Derrick Adams, Ghada Amer, Jonathan Lyndon ChaseThomas Esson and Svenja Deininger propels the MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection in a meaningful way in our goal to give voice to underrepresented artists. We look forward to sharing these important pieces with our guests around the world and sparking conversation around all they represent.”
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MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is an S&P 500® global entertainment company with national and international locations offering best-in-class hotels and casinos, state-of-the-art meeting and conference spaces, incredible live and theatrical entertainment, and a huge range of dining, nightlife and retail offerings. MGM Resorts creates immersive and iconic experiences through its suite of Vegas– inspired brands. The MGM Resorts portfolio includes 32 unique hotel and gaming destinations around the world, including some of the most recognizable resort brands in the industry. The Company’s 50/50 business, BetMGM, LLC, offers online sports betting and gaming in the United States through market-leading brands, including BetMGM and partypoker. The Company is currently pursuing targeted expansion into Asia thanks to the resort opportunity integrated into Japan. Through his “Focused on What Matters: Embracing Humanity and Protecting the Planet” philosophy, MGM Resorts is committed to creating a more sustainable future, while striving to make a greater difference in the lives of its employees, guests and the communities where it operates. MGM Resorts’ global employees are proud to have their company recognized as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine. For more information, visit www.mgmresorts.com. Please also contact us @MGMResortsIntl on Twitter as well as Facebook and Instagram.
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