The Cultural Landscape

Art hath an enemy called Ignorance.
- Ben Jonson

So wrote the English playwright in1598, and today that sentiment is just as strongly held by readers who took TIME's Robert Hughes to task for his remark that Las Vegas is "absent a real museum, or the civic will to build and endow one..."(SHOW BUSINESS, Oct. 26).  Chief among the critics was James Mann, curator of the Las Vegas Art Museum.  "The Las Vegas Art Museum was established in 1950," says Mann.  "We've just opened a show drawn from collections of Las Vegas residents that includes works by Pissarro, Picasso, Calder, Warhol, Dufy and Lichtenstein.  On display now is Salvador Dali's impressive Vision of Hell, which dropped out of sight for 40 years, only to reappear in 1997."  Las Vegan Jennifer Robison proudly notes, "Our art museum featured paintings by Picasso and Dali long before Steve Wynn's casino Ballagio opened its doors."  Adds fellow resident Cheryl Lockhart: "There is more to Las Vegas than the Strip.  We have fine museums, desert views and an intelligent population.  And we most certainly are not 'culturally underoxygenated' as Hughes claimed."


Time , November 16, 1998