Stars on the Ground: Works by John Torreano


Dec. 5, 2019 - Jan. 11, 2020, 12am to 5pm

Office/Remote Location

Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
Art from the exhibit


December 5 - January 11, 2020, Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art

Curatorial Research Presentation

  • Thursday, December 5, 2019  |  4:00 pm 

Artist's Reception & Curator's Welcome

  • Saturday, January 11, 2020  |  3:00 - 5:00 pm 
  • Remarks at 4 pm. Meet the artist and Weston J. Naef, Curator Emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum

Free parking on the UNLV campus 

If Las Vegas is a city of chance, what are the odds of the seminal painting TV Bulge (1969), by John Torreano, landing at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art at UNLV?  The last time this large-scale work was on view was the Whitney Annual Exhibition of American Contemporary Art in 1969. Join the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art for our new exhibition, Stars on the Ground: Works by John Torreano, curated by Melisa Christ. John Torreano is an internationally recognized artist whose work has continuously evolved over his fifty-plus year career.  He has exhibited work in thirty solo exhibitions and over a hundred group exhibitions at institutions around the world.

Alongside TV Bulge, a second large painting from the series will be on display, as well as a few select sketches relating to these works and the artists process.  Las Vegans already know Torreano from his public sculpture Ghost Gem Garden, installed at McCarren International Airport in 1992.  Every year nearly fifty million travelers pass by these giant gems on their way to Terminal 1.  Stars on the Ground also includes three charcoal sketches of the artists concept of the site, as well as historical photograph and print materials. This is a unique opportunity to view one of Torreano’s best-known paintings alongside works that highlight the artist’s connection to the city of Las Vegas.  

Torreano’s work has been described by fellow artist, Richard Artschwager, “as paintings that stand still and make YOU move.”  Throughout his career, Torreano has incorporated a variety of mediums, yet has remained consistent in creating work that incorporates “viewer location as content”, referring to this idea as “movement-oriented perception”.  In the TV Bulge painting, the figure dots are placed strategically on the ground to create the illusion of spatial depth, winking in and out of view as the viewer moves. The focus shifts between the dots and the painterly space behind them, causing the figures and ground to trade places.  Similarly, as a viewer passes the Ghost Gem Garden, the prismatic forms sparkle and change as light reflects off their glass panes, with the focus shifting between their shimmering transparency and the materiality of their forms.  Torreano creates a unique experience with the viewer in mind.  

Stars on the Ground has been funded, in part, by generous gifts from Weston J. and Mary Naef and made possible by donations of the works of art by John Torreano, Weston J. and Mary Naef, and the estate of William David McNabola.  The exhibition is accompanied by a publication highlighting the exhibited work, including an essay written by Weston J. Naef, Curator Emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum and an essay based on interviews with the artist conducted by the exhibition curator, Melisa Christ.  Melisa Christ is a rising senior in the Art History program and a curatorial intern at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After living and traveling internationally over the last decades, she applies broader life experiences to the study of art.  

Admission Information


Contact Information

Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art

External Sponsor

Weston J. and Mary Naef

UNLV Majorie Barrick Museum of Art