• Date: January 23 - February 16, 2014
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Partner: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
  • Artists: Alexander Lee

Press Release



January 23 – February 16, 2014
Hours: Thursday – Sunday | 6 – 11PM
Chinese New Year Reception: Friday, January 31 | 5 – 7PM

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in partnership with Art Production Fund presents artist-in-residence Alexander Lee who will create The Botanical Factory in P3Studio showcasing the process and results of making nature prints by hand.  Guests are invited to join Lee in his factory and learn how to make prints using leaves and peruse the works made by other guests. Referencing the idea of Las Vegas as an oasis in the middle of the desert, the Botanical Factory explores notions of nature versus culture, migration and the search for riches. 

The Botanical Factory is part of a series of works Lee calls The Botanist in which the artist draws from his Hakka Chinese roots and the Tahitian Chinese community’s history in French Polynesia where he grew up. His works, which are made using the leaves of the breadfruit tree, are an exploration in cultural hybridization and the historical relationship between material, invention, commerce and migration. As guests learn the story of the breadfruit tree and the process of nature printing with a variety of leaves, Lee hopes they will consider their own cultural heritage and pursuits.

The subject of Tahitian legends, the breadfruit is an important part of Polynesian culture and has been feeding the islands for centuries. Recognized as a highly productive food by the British, it was transplanted to the Caribbean during a series of expeditions and has been featured in several versions of the movie The Mutiny of the Bounty. Today it is being heralded as a superfood and some believe it could potentially end world hunger. Dipping the breadfruit leaves in ink and hand pressing them onto sheets of polypropylene, Lee creates compositions reminiscent of Polynesian head ornaments, large traditional tapas, celestial navigational maps and Chinese ink paintings. He is in effect creating his own herbarium of cultural motifs.

Born in Stockton, CA, Alexander Lee grew-up in Tahiti, French Polynesia.  He earned his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, his MFA from Columbia University, and MPS from New York University. His works, which speak to his interest in storytelling, anthropology and the creative process, have been displayed at Kinkead Contemporary in Los Angeles and the Clementine Gallery in New York. Lee is currently preparing an exhibition of works from The Botanist series at Collectors Contemporary in Singapore.

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.

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