Wynn Resorts to build massive complex highlights the arts

Wynn Resorts to build massive complex highlights the arts
Jeff Koons, 'Tulips,' Las Vegas. Courtesy Flickr Commons.
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Wynn Resorts, the company founded by controversial art collector and casino mogul Steve Wynn, plans to double down on its commitment to gambling with a $2 billion expansion to its Macau resort and casino. What has been dubbed the Crystal Pavilion complex will not only be a haven for casino-goers but also a massive ode to the arts, in a number of ways.

Designed by New York-based architect Robert A. M. Stern, Bloomberg reports that in addition to two new hotel towers situated on the Cotai peninsula, the Crystal Pavilion will include interactive sculptures, gardens, and a massive performance space. The entire structure will be constructed out of steel and glass and resembles the organic shape of a blossoming flower. The pavilion is expected to be under way by 2021 with an ambitious opening date in 2024.

The Crystal Pavilion will be an expansion of the Wynn Palace, which opened in 2016, but the art collection already on exhibition there was in no way an afterthought. Soon after Wynn received approval to begin construction of the Wynn Palace in 2011, he purchased a set of four Jiaqing period (1796-1821) Chinese porcelain vases for a whopping $12.8 million (£8 million) at Christie’s London specifically for the hotel. Then, before the hotel was opened, Wynn transported the massive Tulips sculpture by Jeff Koons, which he bought in 2013 for $33.7 million, and Amphora III, a vase by Viola Frey, from his Las Vegas casino to the Wynn Palace.

The hotel has acted like a gallery for various works, from contemporary Chinese artists like Liao Yibai, to antiques, to a rotating exhibition of large-scale floral arrangements by Preston Bailey. Recently, the hotel opened an exhibition titled ‘Wynn: Garden of Earthly Delights,’ which runs through October 6th. The exhibition spans the Wynn Palace and the nearby Wynn Macau and is part of ‘Art Macao,’ an international arts and cultural event sponsored by the Macao SAR government. ‘Wynn: Garden of Earthly Delights’ draws inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch and features a number of artists including Refik Anadol, Jennifer Steinkamp, Edoardo Tresoldi, Sam Francis, Robert Indiana, Herb Alpert, and Yansong Ma from MAD Architects.

The Wynn Palace isn’t the only Wynn hotel that has made headlines, either. In June, Wynn Resorts opened Encore Boston Harbor with another Koons purchased by Wynn in 2014 for $28 million entitled Popeye.

However, Wynn Resorts has also faced a lot of backlash in recent months. Steve Wynn recently stepped down as CEO of the conglomerate after allegations were made against him of sexual harassment and rape. In February, Wynn Resorts were required to pay $20 million in fines to the Nevada Gaming Commission for turning a blind eye to reports made of sexual misconduct by the then-CEO. Perhaps the Crystal Pavilion will refocus Wynn Resort’s continued success as it shifts from the negative light cast on the company by its former CEO.