Embattled collector and casino mogul Steve Wynn may have stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts, but the company he founded is continuing to invest in art in earnest. It has announced plans for a $2 billion expansion of its properties in Macau, the world’s largest gambling market, centered around a splashy new art museum.
The Crystal Palace complex, which will be designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern, will include interactive sculpture, a park, and hotel towers in addition to the museum, reports Bloomberg.
The venue’s planned performing art space is being touted as an immersive theatrical experience inspired by the Vatican’s Giudizio Universale: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel, which blends live entertainment with 270 degrees of video projections on the walls and on the ceiling to tell the story of Michelangelo’s artistic genius.
The company’s move to expand its Macau offerings comes as the Chinese government is pushing casino operators in Macau to invest in non-gambling attractions to diversify its tourism industry. The complex plans to begin construction in 2021, with a preliminary opening date of 2024. The company reportedly expects to see a 15 to 20 percent return on investment.
The project is an expansion of Wynn Palace, which opened on Macau’s Cotai peninsula in 2016, and is already home to a substantial art collection. In 2011, after the government had approved the project, Wynn spent £8 million pounds ($12.8 million) at Christie’s London on a set of four Jiaqing period (1796–1821) Chinese porcelain vases purchased specifically for the Macau hotel.
Ahead of the hotel’s opening, Wynn also arranged to move Jeff Koons‘s shiny stainless steel Tulips, which he purchased in 2013 for $33.7 million, from his Las Vegas casino to the new Macau property, along with Viola Frey’s colorful clay vase Amphora III. The hotel is also home to a rotating display of floral sculptures by Preston Bailey, works by contemporary Chinese artist Liao Yibai, and a number of antique tapestries, among other works.
Last month, the luxury resort and casino opened the exhibition, “Wynn: Garden of Earthly Delights,” at Wynn Palace and the nearby Wynn Macau. On view through October 6 on the occasion of the government-sponsored five-month cultural event Art Macau, the Hieronymus Bosch-inspired group show marks the first outing in Macau for artists including Jennifer Steinkamp, Sam Francis, and Robert Indiana.
June also saw the opening of Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor, which features another Jeff Koons, a 2,000-pound metallic Popeye, previously on view at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. Wynn had purchased the artwork in 2014 for $28 million, with the intention of making the artwork the centerpiece of the then-forthcoming Boston property.
In February, the Nevada Gaming Commission ordered Wynn Resorts to pay a $20 million fine, the largest in the state’s history, for purposely ignoring complaints of sexual misconduct lodged against Wynn.
See more renderings of the Wynn Crystal Palace below.
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