Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

Gallery 1 June 29 - August 11, 2013

The city of Las Vegas holds an unrivalled place in the popular imagination as a city of escapist dreams, spectacular night time illumination and pop culture entertainment on a grand scale. Architecture did not feature in this equation until 1972 when architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown published Learning from Las Vegas.

Learning from Las Vegas was based on an extensive research trip Venturi and Scott Brown undertook with their architecture students of Yale University in 1968. Mapping surveys were conducted through hundreds of photographs and filming the urban landscape from a moving car. Their study of the strip city became one of the most influential and controversial books in 20th Century architecture. Its legacy continues to both inspire and challenge us today.

Surprisingly, the luscious colour photographs taken by Venturi and Scott Brown were never featured in this publication. These images have now been retrieved from the private archive of the architects and capture the Las Vegas of the exuberant sculptural signage, of large cruising Chevrolets, and the incongruous meeting of desert landscape with the intensity of the strip city. Developed by the Museum im Bellpark Kriens and the Deutsches Architekturmusuem Frankfurt, this exhibition has been presented to great acclaim in Europe and America and will be shown only in the Australian city that unquestionably has the closest relationship in cultural and design terms to Las Vegas.

Far away in Melbourne Australia in 1973 then architectural student John Gollings, inspired by Learning from Las Vegas, decided to come to the Gold Coast to make his own photographic study of the city in a similar way. Gollings has returned to Surfers Paradise over the past two years to locate these exact same sites and complete the largest ever rephotographic study of its type in the world. The contrasts between then and now are startling. These images will be presented in Gallery 2 in an accompanying exhibition John Gollings Learning from Surfers Paradise: A Rephotography Project 1973-2013.

Catalogue available


Exhibition Event

Mon 1 Jul, 6.00pm - Exhibition Talk with Martino Stierli

After Dark Program - Galleries stay open 5.00pm until 7.30pm
Join us after hours for an enriching program of events that explore our exhibitions. Grab a drink from the bar, and afterwards enjoy a meal at the Arts Café, catch a film at the Arts Cinema or take in the show in The Basement.

Thu 4 Jul, 6.00pm - Opening Event Learning from Surfers Paradise and Las Vegas Studio

Thu 18 Jul, 6.00pm - Forgotten Women in Architecture

Thu 1 Aug, 6.00pm - Sign City

Year Level Suitability Year 10-12
 Local history, architecture, photo documentation
Curriculum Areas Visual Art, Media Arts, History, Local Studies, English
Art Form Photography
Support Teacher notes. Floor talks for student groups.
Bookings 5588 4000 /