Yes, it’s a hotel, but it’s also a wonderful art gallery displaying a curated collection of works from the 20th and 21st centuries. If you’re museum hopping downtown, be sure to include a spin through the public spaces of the ART on your itinerary as they are truly brimming with inspired works of art. The ART is also a great place to grab a drink with a friend, enjoy lunch with a view, or spend the night as part of a luxurious Denver staycation.
The rich visual experience of this unique hotel begins before you even enter the building thanks to Leo Villareal’s delightful installation of 22,000 LED lights that display ever-changing abstract patterns in the ceiling of the hotel’s main entrance. Pass through the sliding doors just beyond the valet stand and you’ll find yourself in an airy contemporary art gallery complete with gallery guides on the coffee tables. Pick up one of these guides and begin your leisurely browsing. Highlights of the 1st floor include a model of the iconic “Big Sweep” (the broom and dust pan outside the Denver Art Museum) by Coosje Van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg; the playful, yet dramatic “Wall Painting #397” by Sol LeWitt with it’s bright primary colors and giant circle and square motif; and a formica fish lamp created by architect Frank Gehry.
The lobby of the hotel is on the 4th floor, so hop into the elevator, enjoy the video art installation in the elevator and then get ready for a stunning reveal when the doors open. Upon arriving on the 4th floor, one is immediately taken by the floor to ceiling window panels that open out to a graceful rooftop terrace, and by a bronze sculpture of a young girl who stands ever ready to greet hotel guests. To the left, you’ll find the hotel’s friendly staff at the check-in desk and a hallway that is home to several wonderful pieces. To the right, you’ll find FIRE restaurant and bar, which offers contemporary American cuisine accompanied by some of the best views in the city. If the weather allows, or if the fire pits are on, venture out onto the terrace to discover cozy seating areas and one of the city’s most charming patio spaces. Highlights of the 4th floor include a horse sculpture by Deborah Butterfield, one of Josef Albers’ experimental color/rectangle paintings and a dot painting of the cosmos by Vance Kirkland.
5 Works of Art You Should See at the ART:
- Wall Drawing #397 (1983) by Sol LeWitt. Located on the 1st floor in front of the main entrance. Painter, sculptor, conceptual artist, LeWitt believed it was more natural to work directly on the wall than to paint on a constructed canvas and then hang that on the wall. He created his first “wall drawing” in 1968. Consistent with the principle that his works could be executed by others who would precisely follow his instructions, this drawing was conceived of by LeWitt in 1983, but produced on the wall at the ART in 2014 by a team of artists.
- Expand (2014), Flashpoint (2014) and Windows I (2014) by Odili Donald Odita. This trio of paintings is located on the 1st floor near the elevators. Sometimes smooth and lyrical, and other times jagged and dissonant, the shifting rhythms in Odita’s works are always dazzling. He often uses music as the basis of the conceptual and emotional structure of the work the paintings. He believes that “color in itself has the possibility of mirroring the complexity of the world.” His palette, drawn from his African heritage emphasizes this belief.
- Eight Soups (2012) by John Baldessari. This series of silkscreen prints is located on the 4th floor, opposite the entrance to the FIRE bar. Conceptual artist John Baldessari playfully sums up nearly the whole history of modern art by combining the idea of Andy Warhol’s endless serial arrangements of Soup Cans with a playful nod to Henri Matisse’s 1912 painting of Goldfish and Sculpture. He is best known for works that appropriate images from film clips, newspapers, and photographs that he takes out of context and recombines in a way that gives them a totally new meaning.
- Molten Meteorites (2014) by Mary Ehrin. This piece is located on the 1st floor in the northern corner of the room. Raised in Los Angeles in a family closely connected to the glory days of Hollywood, Mary Ehrin comes naturally to the world of fantasy and illusion. Striving for “fabulousness,” she is known for incorporating unusual and luxurious materials into her work. In this piece, Ehrin tailors river rocks with metallic leather to transform them into molten meteorites that resemble giant gold nuggets and that may even bring to mind the role of the gold rush in Colorado history.
- Threshold (2014) by Leo Villareal. This site-specific installation is located outside the main entrance of the hotel. Visitors are welcomed to the hotel with an ever-changing light display of abstract patterns controlled by Villareal’s computer programming that regulates their opacity, speed and scale. Another of his renowned installations is the 2013 Bay Lights, a site-specific 1.8-mile display of LED patterns that never repeat themselves on the cables of the north side of the San Francisco-Oakland suspension bridge.
Images of the artwork and artist background information courtesy the ART, a Hotel.
Hotel Website: http://www.thearthotel.com
Hotel Location: 1201 Broadway