I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel…
If you have been to New York City, it is likely that you have heard whispers of the infamously beguiling Chelsea Hotel. This iconic landmark holds within it a treasure trove of artworks and artifacts, some which have hung on the walls of the eccentric building for several decades. It was Philip Hubert, a founder of the architectural firm of Hubert, Pirsson & Company, who brought the Chelsea Hotel to life in the mid-1880s. Hubert was an avid follower of Charles Fourier, a French philosopher who imagined various forms of utopian socialism. More specifically, Fourier was a steadfast proponent of so-called “intentional communities,” in which teamwork and shared social values are top priorities. Since its opening in 1884, the hotel has lived by that philosophy, and has not only been a temporary lodging, but a lifelong home engendering a belief system and a gathering place of candid thought and creation for so many artists, writers, and cultural influencers. While it was originally constructed by Hubert as an affordable co-operative for artists, it did not take long for upper and middle-class New Yorkers to also take over much of its real estate, and only later did it reopen as a hotel. According to Nicolaia Rips, who documented her experiences growing up in the hotel during the 2000s, “If you believe that you imbue the things you create with purpose, which I do, then it is very simple: art is in the hotel’s foundation, it is as essential to the hotel as the brick and mortar.”
The artworks in the hotel collection are emblems of the history made within the walls of the building; the endless stream of artists who called the hotel home, or simply walked through its lobby and halls. Although few of the original occupants remain living in the building, the creative output of the hotel’s residents, whether famous, not famous, or infamous, has been felt beyond the walls of the building, through the decades and around the world.
Some say the walls can talk, and at the Chelsea Hotel, this is for certain.
Our exhibition aims to recreate the soul of the Chelsea Hotel in the eyes of its admirers, many of whom hailed from Paris just as our galleries do. Working in collaboration with the current custodians of the hotel’s collection, many of the works shown will be leaving the walls of the Chelsea Hotel for the first time, alongside others holding a deep connection to the hotel. Artists in the exhibition will include Arman, Joe Andoe, Donald Baechler, Martine Barrat, Roberta Bayley, Henri Cartier-Bresson, John Cage, Bernard Childs, Miki Fuseya, Herbert Gentry, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Ching Ho Cheng, Jennifer Hornyak, Patrick Hughes, Alain Jacquet, Jasper Johns, Robert M. Lambert, Annette Lemieux, Les Levine, Maryan S. Maryan, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Martial Raysse, Niki de Saint Phalle, Steve Scott, James Siena, Daniel Spoerri, Doug and Mike Starn, Frank Stella, Philip Taaffe, Andy Warhol, Judith Weinperson, Tony Woods, and more. While all incredibly individual in their practices, these artists are forever united by their connection to the Chelsea Hotel and the communities and cultures fostered within the “absolutely fireproof” red-brick, balcony-lined Victorian building on West 23rd Street.
So let us hark back to the time when rock and roll vibrated through the hotel’s walls, when Leonard Cohen wrote songs for Janis Joplin, and the scent of oil paint mixed with cigarette and pot smoke lingered in the hallways. This was the time when the Chelsea Hotel thrived as a ward of bohemians who made it legendary through their art, words, and music.
December / 01 / 2023
December / 23 / 2023