American Kitsch: Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kitsch is defined as art, objects, or design considered to be in bad taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic way. I love the nostalgia and humor of American kitsch and here is a kitschy place I've always wanted to visit: Las Vegas' Neon Boneyard.

One of the things that makes Las Vegas so spectacular are the glowing lighted signs that illuminate the town. They're huge, sparkling, and a singularly unique Las Vegas art form. As Las Vegas modernizes, the vintage electric signs that represent motels, local businesses, and famous casino resorts from throughout Las Vegas are collected and saved in a sort of outdoor museum called the Neon Boneyard.

For years this museum has been accumulating the old signs and marquees that used to light up Las Vegas, with some dating back to the early 1930’s, and the reason it’s called the Neon Boneyard is because it's considered a cemetery for old, unwanted signs; in reality, it’s a museum that offers a fascinating, colorful glimpse into the history of early Las Vegas with its collection of larger-than-life, kitschy memorabilia. Though not a glamourous place (the signs are not lit anymore), this vast and amazing collection of huge signage offers a view into the legendary past of Las Vegas and its most memorable art form.

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