I was fortunate to be able to do some more travelling this month especially with the great autumn weather in the US. As I had previously remarked in an earlier blog about there being no noticeable artwork apparent at airports in which I pass through, I’m sad to report that is also the case at Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C. There may be a statue or sculpture standing around somewhere, but if there were, I missed them among all the other signs, directions, warnings, and the Metro. I wonder if there is artwork at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris?
Whatever. On this trip I decided to look and see what kind of 'art' was hanging at my hotel, if any. I was pretty sure there would be some kind of art there. I only began to notice artwork during the last year as I began to draw and paint again, and I now try to notice what someone else has chosen for my viewing pleasure.
My assumption is that it’s all business at hotel chains; that is, some artist somewhere (or their agent if they have one) had enough business sense to figure out how to make some money. I assume that almost every painting, print, photo, poster, etc. at hotels is mass produced, so that you see the same landscape or abstraction whether you’re in Maine or Montana.
I Googled ‘hotel art’ and ‘art in hotels’ and got a few hits. One was Overstock Art with the lively tag line of “Hotel Art – Get Inspired!” Hmmm. If you provide contact information, they’ll get in touch about their ‘hotel art program.’ I was surprised to see you can order by artist, by motif (landscape, floral), by style (Impressionist, Surrealism), and by size. There was also Art-Impact, which has “a tool for specifying and procuring artwork while closely monitoring the pulse of art and innovation.” Art-Impact lets you search by featured artist and browse their portfolio; it even offers special requests, which I assume meant they could accommodate artists not on their list. They seem to have something to fit every need and, if I’m not mistaken, it sounds like every piece of art is one-of–a-kind original, although that may not be in every case. If so, then maybe you won’t see the same thing in Bangor and Butte.
For Today’s Image, I’m showing you a sample of the artwork at the hotel (which will remain nameless) where I stayed. All the artwork in the lobby and at least in the hallway on my floor was in this same abstract style. It’s pleasing on some level. I like the bright color, but what is it—a canyon, a pelvis, what? Ah yes--in the eye of the beholder. I don’t know if it's the same style on other floors as I didn’t bother to look. The lobby and hall art was different and better, in my opinion, than the couple of pieces that hung in my room anyway. They were so bland that I can’t remember much about them—an abstract floral or something.
So I’m thinking, you get what you pay for as always. If you’re staying in a chain hotel, you get chain artwork; if you stay in an upscale resort, you get one-of-a-kinds, maybe.
The good thing is, at least they are trying, and I thank them for that. As for the artwork in my hallway, I think the EXIT sign adds something to the composition, don’t you?