The Big Edge

A spectacular boating art project in the middle of the desert.

The Big Edge
The Big EdgePeter Tsai Photography/Alamy Stock Photo

Who says Las Vegas isn’t a boating town? Just go to the City Center where sculptor Nancy Rubins has wired together a huge art project made from canoes, kayaks, rowboats and sailboats. It’s not easy to find — Big Edge is wrapped by Monte Carlo, Bellagio, and the Vdara Hotel and Spa. But if you can get there, it’s spectacular.

Rubins, who works largely in industrial material — airplane pieces, boiler parts, consumer debris — used piano wire to attach 200 boats to a stainless-steel frame. Some observers describe Big Edge as a “big metal flower,” since the hulls are arranged like red, yellow and blue spiny blooms; others call it “gravity-defying” because all 75 feet of this angry-yet-fresh-looking pineapple appear to hover above the concrete expanse of downtown.

What does it all mean? Big Edge brings to mind photographs of rusted ships beached in the middle of nowhere, miles from the retreating shore. Maybe it’s symbolic of man’s folly for bringing water into the desert. Or it’s a reminder that in the battle between man and nature, nature usually wins (just like the casinos).