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Tuesday Morning Roundup


by Stephen Becker 17 Feb 2009

A ROOM WITHOUT A VIEW: Is there a public space with more bland art than the average American hotel? That’s what Mike Gerra over on the art251 blog is wondering about. As he writes: “One might display a work that is fitting of the hotel’s location, a skyline of Manhattan in a New York City […]

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A ROOM WITHOUT A VIEW: Is there a public space with more bland art than the average American hotel? That’s what Mike Gerra over on the art251 blog is wondering about. As he writes:

“One might display a work that is fitting of the hotel’s location, a skyline of Manhattan in a New York City hotel, for instance. Others will show a nameless abstract that matches the tones in the carpeting. Many will stick with the tried and tested route – reproduction drawings of botanical subjects from old apothecary books. Yawn!”

Mike’s been on the road doing some consulting, hence the many hotel stays. But he does point out that a few hotels – ones run by art lovers -strive for a little visual stimulation.

“There’s the Hotel Max in Seattle, the Hotel des Arts in San Francisco, and the grande dame of artistic hostelries, the Chambers in Minneapolis. In fact, the Chambers is so hip it even has an art-o-mat machine (just like art251). Though, I have to say that some of the art on display in its public spaces may not be to the taste of a typical hotel guest — the Chamber’s reception is adorned with Damien Hirst’s Judas Iscariot from the The Twelve Disciples series (a bull’s head, representing St.James, suspended in formaldehyde).”

Can anyone think of a local hotel that goes beyond the standard-issue prints? The only place that immediately jumps to mind is Hotel ZaZa – I always liked that collage of black-and-white photos outside the Dragonfly bar/restaurant. Of course, I don’t actually see the inside of too many local hotels, seeing as that I live here.

AN EVENING WITH JAKE HEGGIE: If you missed Jake Heggie’s appearance in Fort Worth last week, the Fort Worth Opera was kind enough to tape the discussion and post it on its Scoop Web site. Heggie composed the opera version of Dead Man Walking, which the FWO will produce in May. Then in 2010, the Dallas Opera will debut his Moby-Dick. If you don’t have time to watch the video, here’s what Olin Chism had to say about the event.

Update: ‘ROIDS ON STAGE: In 1995, the Dallas Theater Center hoped to connect with the city’s sports fans with  James Yoshimura’s Ohio Tip-Off, a drama about a team in a second-hand league hoping for a visit from an NBA agent. But Dallas likes to back winners. In March, the theater will debut Back Back Back, Itamar Moses’ play about three baseball players hoping for success and looking to find it in steroids. Morning News sports columnist Kevin Sherrington points out the timely connections to A-Rod.

Update: SIGHTLESS IN DALLAS: The New York Times profiles blind Dallas painter James Bramblitt, which the Morning News did two years ago. In the NYT:

“I didn’t so much lose my sight as I lost my freedom,” he said. “I was trapped in my own head.”

Determined to get his vision back in some way, Mr. Bramblitt picked up a bottle of white glue and began to draw outlines that he could feel with his fingers once the glue dried. He soon switched to a paint product that dried more quickly, and he learned to distinguish between different shades of oil paint based on their texture and viscosity.

“It wasn’t until I lost my sight that I became brave enough to fail,” he said. “Even if the paintings didn’t look good, I didn’t have to see them.”

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