JK RUSS PRESENTS HOUSE OF PAPER BIRDS
December 10 – January 4
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday | 6–11PM
Closing Reception: January 2 | 5–7PM
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, in partnership with Art Production Fund, is pleased to announce artist-in-residence JK Russ. During her residency, Russ invites guests to join her for the creation of a magical new kingdom. Ruled over by feathered fashionistas in designer stilettos, her collaborative collage installation, House of Paper Birds, turns the foundation of contemporary biological classification on its head.
House of Paper Birds is a collage collision of female forms, birds and desert plants laced with a strong fashion component inspired by The Cosmopolitan itself. The kingdom will manifest itself in two large collages. One window work will feature bird women figures positioned in a desert landscape. Guests will co-create this landscape using rock and sky images from National Geographic magazines. The second collage will be created on panels and feature a surreal flowering Joshua tree created from images cut from fashion publications. The discarded paper cut-outs produced during this process will be left to accumulate on the floor, creation a sea of color as the weeks pass.
Meanwhile, a number of Russ’ completed collages will be on display in P3Studio’s second room. Turned into a reading room for the run of the residency, the space will house a couch and comfortable chairs, so guests can sit and browse the array of magazines at hand. In addition, the room will hold a collaged cardboard bird-head mannequin showcasing a changing selection of fashion items from The Cosmopolitan boutiques. Russ’ residency will conclude with a reception featuring the completed collage works and a screening of the 2012 JK Russ and Mina Kahn collaborative video “Desert City Bird Life.”
Originally from New Zealand, Russ now lives and works in Las Vegas. While her early works explored performative gender and sexuality combining photography with moving image, her recent collages merge popular culture and fashion elements, along with desert creatures and rock formations. In 2012, her work was featured on the Las Vegas episode of “ The Ethical Hedonist TV ,” produced for the Travel Channel (UK), and in 2013, she was co-winner of “Best Art Import” in Las VEGAS SEVEN’s Best of the City Awards. She is currently represented by galleries in Las Vegas (Sin City Gallery), New Zealand at Paul Nache and Australia at SmallWorks and is a featured artist and blogger with The Huffington Post.
The artist-in-residence program at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas represents one component of its larger art program, in which artists create projects that are interactive and participatory, giving guests the opportunity to connect at an authentic and personal level. Developed and curated in partnership with Art Production Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to producing ambitious public art projects, it strives to reach new audiences and expand awareness through contemporary art.
Award-winning New Zealand artist JK Russ will be exhibiting her “Desert of Earthly Delights” show at Sin City Gallery, March 1-25. On Thursday, March 1, there will be an “Artist Talk Preview” from 6-9 p.m. with the talk at 7 p.m. Her showing will include a series of collage works incorporating landscapes, flora and fauna from the desert, spray-painted sunsets, and the titillating femmes from Las Vegas Strip culture.
Russ earned her Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2001 at the Manukau School of Visual Arts in Auckland, New Zealand. She was awarded the Carey Smith & Co. Whanganui Art Review at the Sarjeant Gallery, a public art museum, with her art piece “Contemporary Gladiator,” which referenced the sex industry and stimulated her fascination with erotica.
Russ’ “Lasciviscious Landscape” art piece that is in the gallery’s current exhibit “12” of Sin,” reflects her expanded thinking about erotic art.
“Nowhere is tolerance and understanding of diversity more important than in the area of sexuality. And of course, art that relates to sexuality can play an important role in encouraging communication and acceptance.” Russ added, “With my recent works, I am aiming to incorporate some humor, as I believe it’s a great tool to help people feel comfortable in addressing important political issues.”
Russ has taken up residency in Las Vegas, where her fertile mind has turned to pop culture. “Vegas is such a visual spectacle – it’s great raw material,” said Russ, who is intrigued by the valley spreading across swathes of desert to the mountains. Her exhibition at Sin City Gallery will reflect her perspective as a foreigner embracing a new culture. As Las Vegas is ever-evolving its recycled glitz, Russ’ mixed media pieces utilize record vinyls and LP covers as the platform to create works of art that are enchanting and enticing.
“Sin City Gallery is becoming known internationally for presenting art experiences that cause the viewers to think with their senses and feel with their minds,” said the gallery’s curator Dr. Laura Henkel. “Russ’ artwork has a modernistic ethereal appeal that is both alien and ever so alluring.”
Sin City Gallery is located off the Strip in the famous Arts Factory, situated in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas’ thriving arts community, at 107 E. Charleston Boulevard, Suite 100. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 1 to 7 p.m. The gallery’s current TV exposure is artwork in the house on this season’s Oxygen network’s “Bad Girls Club” and the Travel Channel’s “The Ethical Hedonist” episode featuring Las Vegas. For information, updates and exhibition calendar, call 702-608-2461.