LOS ANGELES, July 8 (JTA) — When Las Vegas unveiled its latest mind-boggling landmark, it was another triumph for good old Israeli know-how. The 100-foot high Coca-Cola bottle, a new world record, encases two elevators that take visitors to the fourth story of a “showcase mall” dedicated to the World of Coca-Cola. The giant bottle’s exterior, festooned with thousands of flashing bulbs and neon, lights up the Las Vegas Strip. On the bottle’s inside, folks riding the elevators are treated to “sounds of crackling ice, pouring soda and a sound track of dynamic Coca-Cola jingles,” said a company statement. Now the Israeli angle. On the third floor of the World of Coca-Cola, the “Contours of Art” exhibit “showcases folk art traditions from around the world, in the form of oversized, three-dimensional Coca-Cola bottle shapes.” Following a global competition, the top 15 “sculptures” were selected by “a professional panel and public vote.” Carrying the colors for the Jewish state was Zohar Gabay, a graphic design student from Tel Aviv. His 8-foot, 3-inch “mosaic sculpture,” featuring the Coca-Cola logo in Hebrew letters, won the judges’ admiration as “one of the collection’s highlights,” according to an enthusiastic Coca-Cola spokeswoman. Specifically, she revealed, Gabay’s entry “features mosaic tiles in natural colors, placed on a polyurethane bottle foundation. The mosaic technique combines art forms and messages connected with ancient Israel, Greek art and modern times. “Several Israeli symbols are prominent, including the Star of David and the Israeli flag.” Lest cynical minds suspect that the unique exhibit is but a commercial promotion, the “rationale,” described in a “fact sheet,” cites a loftier purpose: “The Coca-Cola contour bottle has been, and continues to be, a source of inspiration for artists around the world. Folk and indigenous art is part of the fabric of life everywhere, and so is Coca-Cola.”
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