Motel Vegas is a beautifully bound book that is an ode to a bye-gone era and a reflection on America’s iconic automobile culture. Motels and auto courts played a significant role in the development of car culture, especially with the advent of famed Route 66. The “Mother Road”, as it was known, unlocked the west for millions of Americans and intrepid travelers from around the world. Motel Vegas celebrates the praised architectural vernacular that once dominated Las Vegas’ skyline and served as the foundation for today’s mega-resorts.
The photographs were commissioned by renowned New York gallerist and art dealer Ivan Karp. Karp was instrumental in the emergence of pop art and the development of SoHo’s gallery district with notable artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. The large format photos from the most historic motel locations in Las Vegas and surrounding area in the book were originally exhibited in Karp’s O.K. Harris Gallery in New York. Motel Vegas is a must have for any collector of fine books and aficionado of Mid-Century Modern history.
Essays include a foreword by Alan Hess, architectural historian and one of American’s preeminent authorities on Modernism,
“The humble motel is the indispensable building block of the modern suburban metropolis, and no city built on this foundation more creatively than Las Vegas. At the heart of every mega-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip today you
can see the innovative soul of the early motels on E. Fremont seen in this book: a glorious sign evoking wonder and romance with the artful magic of neon and light, the welcome hospitality of a home away from home, the relaxation of a sun-drenched pool. The motel is a classic of modern architecture, and this book’s photographs document their dignity even after decades of neglect.”
About the author
Dr. Fred Sigman is a photographer, art historian and adventurer. Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Sigman spent his early years growing up in his mother's childhood home, until the age of nine, when they moved to Paris. As a young boy he attended boarding school at Notre-Dame de Boulogne and during these formative years living in Europe, he began to take photographs wherever they traveled. In France, he walked among ancient Roman ruins and found a world to himself in the woods of Boulogne and Fontainebleau. His teachers assigned the writings of Jean de la Fontaine and Charles Baudelaire that would help formulate his thinking, especially upon his arrival in the fabled and modern city where he would receive his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in Art History and Philosophy. Upon graduation he went on to complete his M.A. and PhD from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
Sigman’s career would lead him to be one of the few photographers ever permitted to photograph inside of a casino. In addition, he went on to work as the archivist and photographer at the world-famous Las Vegas News Bureau, part of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, renowned for the “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” marketing campaign. He has taught art history in various colleges and universities in the American southwest. He has exhibited throughout the United States including New York, Palm Beach, Las Vegas, San Diego, Albuquerque and internationally in Sweden and Mexico. Today Dr. Sigman continues photographing the world and dividing his time between his home in Southeast Asia, and frequent travels to Europe and the United States.
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