From Singapore to New York, art is now on everyone’s agenda, whether you’re a tourist or in town for business, and with a series of recently appointed arts-focused creative directors at Conrad Hotels and Resorts, these luxury hotels have been immersing themselves in contemporary art and emerging at the forefront of the art-hotel trend.
In arty circles, Conrad’s locations—from Tokyo, Japan, to New York, USA—are known for housing some of the most radical and cutting-edge art in the world, showing a breadth of contemporary creativity that’s rarely seen together in one location; these are spaces that people visit for the art alone.
The Long-Sharp Gallery, located in the Conrad Indianapolis, is the only hotel gallery in the world that participates in the international art fair circuit, making yearly appearances at Masterpiece London and Spring Masters in New York. The contemporary art magazine Blouin Artinfo recently included the gallery in its list of the top 500 galleries in the world. Long-Sharp Gallery has rare works by some of the 20th century’s leading artists such as Picasso, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Joan Miró. Biannually, the gallery curates displays in the hotel’s public spaces, featuring work by the leading names in American art, highlights of which include seminal pieces by Andy Warhol and David Spiller.
The radical conceptual sculpture Turbulence by leading Venezuelan sculptor Rafael Barrios, makes a statement in the lobby and attracts tourists from across the world. The hotel has a rare and creatively curated collection of Asian art contributing to the vogue for contemporary works from the region, featuring pieces by Singaporean artist Tay Bak Koi, who is considered to be one of the leading figures of Southeast Asian modernism. Koi’s piece Gathering hangs in the hotel’s lobby, facing the guest lounge. For those with a penchant for contemporary American art, Harmony, the 27-foot-wide sculpture of interlocking waves, by installation artist Richard Sparling, takes pride of place in the driveway of the hotel.
Conrad New York’s collection of genre-defining contemporary art is a sight to behold, both for its guests and for visitors who come out of their way to see it. It comprises over 2,000 works of art, highlights being the dramatic site-specific commissions including Sol LeWitt’s extraordinary Loopy Doopy (Blue and Purple), used to striking effect in the Atrium, and Pat Steir’s Topsy Turvy in the Gallery Ballroom. The smaller lithographs by the likes of Elizabeth Peyton, Mary Heilman and Jeff Koons aren’t to be missed, nor are graphic masterpieces by internationally renowned artists Imi Knoebel and Julian Opie. The collection couldn’t have been in better hands, with many pieces selected in collaboration with New York’s Public Art Fund; it’s little surprise that the hotel is high on the itinerary
of New York’s discerning art lovers.
In the fashionable area of Minato, Tokyo, the city’s taste for all things eclectic has led to a calendar of rare and innovative contemporary art exhibitions in Conrad Tokyo. Artists take the spotlight with exhibitions curated by Norman H. Tolman, founder of The Tolman Collection, Japan’s most renowned contemporary art fund. Tolman has another exhibition planned for summer 2017. Speaking of the upcoming show, he says, “I want the Conrad lobby to look like a flame of color is flowing through it.” A sentiment which seems to be at the core of Conrad’s contemporary art vision.