Many jazz fans might be surprised to learn not only that there is a casino in Queens, N.Y. (the only such establishment within the borders of New York City), but that it’s currently hosting an exhibit of artwork by Louis Armstrong. Resorts World Casino recently hosted an opening reception for a show in its Red Wall Art Gallery that features a collage collection by the legendary trumpeter and vocalist, curated by the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens. Bria Skonberg, an artist with a real affinity for Armstrong’s music, performed at the opening of the exhibit, which will run through July 31.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum has worked with the casino previously, putting together the gallery’s first show in 2012, a photography exhibit of the Queens Jazz Trail, which naturally included images of Armstrong, who lived in Corona with his wife Lucille from 1943 until his death in 1971. Their residence became the home for the Museum, which is now both an essential tourist destination for jazz fans and an important archive for scholars.
“The world knows Louis Armstrong for his trumpet and his voice,” said Regina Bain, executive director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, in a press release received at JazzTimes. “But Louis expressed himself in many ways and his collages reveal a truer sense of his humor, friendships and the mementos he cherished from his life and work. We are so thankful to Resorts World for helping bring these wonderful works of art to the community.” Indeed, the collages, which Armstrong created on the covers of 500 reel-to-reel tape boxes, reveal the trumpeter’s whimsical nature as well as his unique style of social commentary. A book about his visual art, Satchmo: The Wonderful World and Art of Louis Armstrong, was compiled by author Steven Brower and published by Abrams back in 2009.
The exhibit at the Resorts World Casino in Queens is free and open to the public.