by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | April 16, 2018

casHotels are all about setting their image with the right architectural tone and a design that captures their unique branding. But in another move to stand out from the pack, some are now showcasing serious art collections and installations that could rival any museum. Here are five newcomers that are creating some serious buzz in the art world.
Oemc2n Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and named for Albert Einstein's equation establishing the theory of relativity, the 195-room Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection, opened last May. The 21-story property features an ultra-modern interior designed by New York-based Rockwell Group and striking architecture by local firm KOO. But the real stunner for the hotel, which celebrates the convergence of art and science, is the eclectic collection of commissioned artwork displayed throughout, such as the chalkboard creations by British mathematician Dr Eugenia Cheng, an artist and scientist-in-residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which dominate the hotel's 2,000 square feet of meeting space.
A visit to the 135-room Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph, is a 360-degree immersion in the world of contemporary art. Along with nearly 7,000 square feet of meeting space, the Ohio property is stocked with more than 500 works, part of the private collection of owners Ron, Ann and Joel Pizzuti, who rank among the top 200 art collectors in the world. This bounty includes 30 specially commissioned pieces for the hotel (named for the family's patriarch, Joseph Pizzuti), all available for purchase and created by 15 artists with connections to the region. A color-popping 10-piece collection of neon works by Kaws (aka Brian Donnelly) is easily the most eye-catching when you enter the stunning two-story lobby. Guests can view more of the Pizzutis’ collection across the street in their private gallery, courtesy of Le Méridien's Unlock Art partnership with local art institutions.
In New York City's Chinatown district, the 229-room Hotel 50 Bowery, which opened in May 2017 and features 10,000 square feet of event space, is the first Joie de Vivre property to seup shop in a city already chockful of boutique properties. While this stylish newcomer rings all the architectural and design bells — exposed brick walls, vintage fabrics, opulent furnishings — it also packs a nice artistic element with its second-floor gallery, which the Museum of Chinese in America curates as part of its partnership with the hotel. The permanent collection, which features pieces by several New York City artists, also includes historic black-and-white photographs of Chinatown, courtesy of the Museum of Chinese in America.
The newest edition from 21c Museum Hotels, which bridges hospitality and art, is the 124-room 21c Nashville, which opened last May. Like the other six hotels in this chain's portfolio, the new Nashville property, with 10,500 square feet of event space that doubles as gallery space, has some serious art installations in a variety of mediums, including experiential digital, video and sound. For repeat guests, there is always a surprising new piece to discover in the guest rooms. As part of the brand's Elevate program, which promotes local artists, pieces are constantly changing as new ones are installed. To find out which artists are being showcased, simply go online or ask the front desk.
In Denver, the 165-room Art, A Hotel, delivers on its name with an array of stunning sculptures and tapestries, not to mention the enormous red, blue and yellow minimalist painting by iconic conceptual artist Sol LeWitt in the first-floor entrance. The hotel's art curator, Dianne Vanderlip, was associated for many years with the Denver Art Museum, next door, which means you can literally roll out of bed and into another art institution. In all, the nine-story property offers creations by more than 40 artists, including Clark Richert, a Denver painter whose distinctive works adorn the fifth-floor hallways.