Move over, Fab5Freddie and your kickass portraits of Swarovski-bedazzled pugilists and strippers. The Cosmopolitan’s new Artist in Residence is Steven Spann, a Las Vegas artist who will be working with discarded materials on property—wine corks, gift bags from the marketing department and general packing trash that might find its way into the hotel’s P3 Studio, Spann’s public work space for the next six weeks.
Spann, who had a similar trash-into-art project at World Market Center, was approached recently by Chris Burns, Cosmo’s director of content and entertainment curation, and asked to move into the space as part of an engagement project: the artist working with staff and guests who provide him with the material. He moved his studio in last Friday and will be working 2-11 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
The exhibit is timely in the “green”-centric era where we’re well into the habit of examining consumerism and throwaway lifestyle.
Spann says his studio work and art address the myth of ownership—what’s valued, what’s discarded, how materials get processed and the idea of turning waste into something of value. By providing materials, the employees and guests are actual participants in the work and deciding the medium: "They are choosing the recycled materials to bring into the studio. So I am working with their choices and trying not to cross pollinate the trash. I don't want to put marketing trash in a painting with accounting trash. This is quite different than the WMC where I was physically in the dumpster picking the trash."
A fan of Diebenkorn, Picasso and Chagall, Spann adopts their style of thick brush strokes, palette and, in some cases, abstraction. Spann says most of his work is exhibited and sold out of state, but locals familiar with SoHo Lofts will have seen his paintings featured there. Spann also painted the mural behind the bar at Downtown Cocktail Room.