Las Vegas: Glass Half Full Or Half Empty?


Fred Wasser

Whitney Lynn, "A Matter of Perspective no.001" 2016 neon, glass tubing, steel

It’s a bit of a mystery that will be fully revealed on Thursday night.

That’s when multimedia artist Whitney Lynn will unveil several projects that she’s been working on in Las Vegas for the city’s Neon Museum.

Lynn, who lives in San Francisco, was selected by the museum to be its artist-in-residence for one month. Her proposal called for the creation of at least one physical neon sign, plus drawings for signs that might be created later.

Lynn is nearing the end of her Las Vegas residency, and we were wondering what she came up with.  We sent KNPR producer Fred Wasser to her workshop on Las Vegas's Westside for a sneak preview, and for a conversation about her time in Las Vegas.


"I think when I first came here I started thinking about lures. And signs as lures and that connected to some earlier work."

"With the signs it’s typically with businesses to draw you in, but with the Neon Museum there’s this transition of those signs from advertising and business to being public art. It is a different kind of lure to the city. And a kind of fantasy of Las Vegas from a past."

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Artist Whitney Lynn with her work, "A Matter of Perspective no.003" 2016; acrylic, vinyl, LED lights, aluminum/Photo Courtesy: Fred Wasser

"It’s also an image about looking. So you can look at this cube and see it from different perspectives. Depending on what you focus on you will see the bottom or the top or the side start to shift orientation."  

On Las Vegas influence:

"I think Las Vegas made me consider my own positions and expectations and it really made me think about the power of an image."

"My only understanding of Las Vegas was through media. And the constructed image and then living down and getting to see other neighborhoods."

"Maybe one of the expectations was I didn’t think that I would enjoy being in Las Vegas this much. But there was also a position of attraction and repulsion. I kept going through those two poles and that’s also maybe something that’s the beauty of this city is that it is a city of extremes. But it is also a city that has a lot of freedom. I think it opened up a lot of possibilities for work that could be made."


On the influence of Las Vegas extremes:

"I think it made me want to make images that are about extreme positions of how a viewer can approach them. I think all of these works are meant to function as you can take polar opposite positions." 


Whitney Lynn, Goldbricks 2016; red clay bricks, composition gold leaf/Photo Courtesy: Fred Wasser

Studio Open House

Whitney Lynn

Thursday, June 30

6 to 8 p.m.

Free, and open to everyone

418 West Mesquite Avenue, Suite 130

Las Vegas

Whitney Lynn’s residency was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Whitney Lynn, San Francisco-based multimedia artist

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