‘Learning from Las Vegas’ Authors Revisit the City
Jim Venturi’s film marks its first screening in Las Vegas, and explores his parents’ relationship with Las Vegas architecture
(LAS VEGAS)—January 14, 2011—Learning from Las Vegas was one of the most influential architectural books of its time when it was published in 1972. Now, authors and architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown are the subject of Bob and Denise, a documentary by their son, Jim Venturi. A preview of the film will be screened along with Saving Lieb House, a short documentary, also by Jim, during Las Vegas Market, January 25, at 6:30 p.m., as part of the Las Vegas Market Design Series.
Learning from Las Vegas embraced the iconic signs and buildings of the Las Vegas Strip, touting what was considered the “common” design elements as a precursor of what was to come throughout the country. Their point of view was polarizing to critics and designers, alike.
“This highly controversial book stirred up huge debates at the time of its publication and caused all sorts of arguments between critics–some of whom will be seen in the film. This will be an engaging event and the subject matter will certainly give rise to an interesting new dialogue,” says Margaret Casey, director of programming for World Market Center Las Vegas.
Robert and Scott Brown considered Las Vegas a prototype for 20th century American suburbia, and the book provided a new lens through which to view the controversial architecture of the Las Vegas Strip. The book remains a mainstay in college curricula and every day architectural conversation. The film shares the insights and opinions of the minds behind the book.
Casey said viewers can also look forward to amazing footage of vintage Vegas casinos, along with a reception and the exhibit “I AM A HOUSE: 2007” featuring 26 prints by Robert Venturi on loan from the Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, as well as a photographic retrospective presented by the LVCVA. Curated by Las Vegas resident Brian “Paco” Alvarez, “Vegas Spectacular: From the Stage to the Strip” features images from the Las Vegas News Bureau archives that capture Las Vegas casino architecture, headline entertainment and iconic Neon signage and explores the relationship between the spectacle of the stage show and the city’s exaggerated architectural vernacular from the era.
The preview screening will be the film’s debut in Las Vegas, and is free and open to the public. Casey says that World Market Center Las Vegas is privileged to host this screening in the city that gave the book life.
“Because Las Vegas architecture and design was pivotal to Jim’s parents’ careers, and so many students of architecture or design have been influenced by the book Learning from Las Vegas, I thought it would be meaningful to bring it ‘home,’ so to speak,” says Casey.
The other film, Saving Lieb House, is a short documentary directed by Venturi and John Halpern, following Robert and Scott Brown as they scramble to save their iconic pop-art creation, Lieb House. The two-story, box-shaped home located in Barnegat Light, New Jersey, became a symbol of modernism after it was built in the late 1960s. When the couple learns of plans for its demolition, they have 10 days to find a way to save it. The film follows their brief crusade—including a 97-mile barge ride—while capturing the enthusiasm of New York City as its residents cheer them on.
The presentation and screenings will take place from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. January 25 in Building C, Room C358 at World Market Center Las Vegas, 495 S Grand Central Parkway. A meet and greet reception with Jim Venturi will follow. Attendees should RSVP to [email protected] to ensure a seat.
About Las Vegas Design Center at World Market Center Las Vegas
Sitting at the epicenter of the world’s fastest growing home furnishings complex, Las Vegas Design Center at World Market Center Las Vegas is a year-round resource for design-seeking consumers and designers showcasing top names in fine furniture, decorative accessories, wall décor, lighting, floor coverings, fabrics and trim. Now open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., LVDC boasts hundreds of leading manufacturers’ lines. An important source of education for the industry, Las Vegas Design Center also attracts many of the industry’s most prominent thought leaders to its comprehensive slate of seminars, networking receptions and other sought-after events. Las Vegas Design Center is home to downtown Las Vegas’ first upscale Mexican restaurant Mundo, A Culinary Haute Spot. For more information, visit www.lvdesigncenter.com.