Last weekend, I stood sinking my eyes into Jim Dine’s Yellow Rushing Toward Me made from oil, acrylic, sand and charcoal. My attention is so pulled by the texture that my masked face almost touches the glass that encases the piece. Just as might happen in a museum or gallery filled with inspired work, I lose all sense of atmosphere staring at the Dine.
The sound of the elevator arriving reminds me that I am in fact standing on the landing of the 7th floor at The ART Hotel Denver. This Hilton Curio Collection property is your ticket to the inspired Golden Triangle Creative District of the Mile High. What might not be as well-known is the special care that this team of hospitality experts have taken to make your experience one of a kind.
On the first-floor level, guests are greeted by original art from the likes of Leo Villareal, Sol Lewitt, Odili Donald Odita, and Tracey Emin. It’s difficult to resist the urge to linger, moving around the space with luggage that hasn’t yet been checked in. But my advice is to keep moving, and get to the 4th floor lobby as soon as possible. You have time to admire these original works, and the last thing you want to do is rush through them.
Once those elevator doors open up to 4, any guest with an artful bias will be immediately impressed by the scale of the collection at The Art. Stepping into the lobby, you are greeted by Kiki Smith’s Singer,a bronze decorated with paper flowers.
To your right hangs a massive wall sized tapestry by Edward Ruscha, on loan from the artist. Industrial Strength Sleep is woven from Merino wool and cotton, presented at an impressive scale that makes you want to take the message very seriously.
Along the way, you are going to meet some pleasant folks who want you to not only feel comfortable and safe, but also inspired. The Art’s check-in desk is flanked with work by Nancy Rubins and resting one’s eyes on any one composition becomes a challenge. Again, you just arrived. You have time. And there are hidden treasures yet to be revealed.
The Stage Is Set for Your Stay
Each floor of The Art is curated against the theme that is presented on the landing. My room featured a Jim Dine print, leveraged along with his original work just outside the elevator. Your accommodations will provide deep comfort while at the same time presenting design touches that set the aesthetic apart. Settling in is absolute satisfaction, but don’t forget, you have art to see.
A trip back to the 4th floor reveals more Edward Ruscha, and works by Clyfford Still, Luis Jiménez, and Judy Pfaff. Within the space that defines Fire, The Art’s modern eatery and lounge, a patron is treated to a viewing of “Light Knots”, a Larry Bell installation commissioned specifically for the hotel.
A single layer of Mylar film coated in metals and quartz delivers captivating three-dimensional movement in an airy space flooded with natural light. Bell’s Church Studies grace the 4th floor hallway, an iridescent experience for the viewer.
This floor also features Deborah Butterfield’s Otter. A Montana artist, Butterfield forages for wood on the riverbanks of her beloved Western landscape, then casts by burning away the wood with molten bronze. Her application of patina renders the bronze into what appears to be driftwood. It’s a trick on the mind to realize that instead of a light wooden composition being installed in this lobby, it instead required an assist from a crane.
Forging a Path to Inspiration
Being surrounded by this thoughtfully curated collection of original art is as satisfying as it is surprising. Even the conference rooms feature special touches that could only bring levity to a serious business discussion.
And there is nothing wrong with that. But what will you see beyond these walls?
A guest at The Art Hotel is mere steps away from the Denver Art Museum, the Clyfford Still Museum, the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art, and the History Colorado Center. Each of these facilities remain open to the public, and each follows precautionary guidelines associated with COVID-19.
Cultural experiences are limited within the majority of large American cities. But some are finding a way to invite you in, while at the same time, making you feel comfortable with current limitations. Each museum mentioned above requires masks to be worn and virtual appointments to be made in order to gain admission. They are keeping a strict headcount in place, if only to remain open to the public.
So many things are a challenge now, but an artful escape can still be had. Do some research, choose your accommodations wisely, and make it happen for yourself. Your memories of 2020 can still include some highlights. If those happen to involve immersing oneself in original art and culture while the options are limited, you will be winning.