Hotel… Art?


It’s easy to be churlish and disparaging about artwork in hotels. Often I’m pleasantly surprised (perhaps not unsurprisingly given my subterranean expectations) by what’s on the walls (a great hotel in San Diego last summer immediately springs to mind) but more usually I can bask in familiar re-encounters with stuff so dire, it’s positively reassuring.

In the depths of last weekend’s snowfall, and child-free for 24 hours, Himself and I decided on a spontaneous getaway for ourselves and the dog.

The dog’s destination was the local kennels. Ours was the best hotel in a nearby town.

We had secured a fantastic bargain deal for a veritable suite of rooms (including our own personal emergency exit) and it was perfectly delightful.

Except I was overcome by a desire to submit a proposal to the hotel management for artistic redesign of the interior. Unusually, there was hardly any thing on the walls at all, save for the ubiquitous frosted glass wall lights. And one truly stupendously bad “artwork”.

Actually, I may have got it wrong. Maybe it was just a framed homily-sort-of-thing with no pretensions to post-modernist conceptualism at all. But somehow, I don’t think so.

Remaining open to positive critique, perhaps the atrociously badly laid-out phrases and sentimentalised choice of font were an ironic contemporary take on Victorian framed embroidered aphorisms. But again, I don’t think so.

It was all too sadly serious. This was clearly not the Bonaventure hotel of North Yorkshire; on the contrary, it appeared the least likely place to go in for a bit of postmodern irony. So I was forced to conclude this was a seriously bad bit of Art: so wonderfully and intriguingly dreadful that I wasted at least five minutes trying to capture it with my iPhone.

I don’t know what disturbed me more. The odd triptych sectioning of Beatles lyrics? The lay-out? The font? The slightly off positioning of the frames? Oh, lighten up, Gillian. It’s only a piece of Hotel Art.

Maybe I won’t bother with my proposal for a redesign. Maybe it wouldn’t be the sort of thing they’d want after all.


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