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Unique New Hotel-Gallery Concept Launched in Chicago

September 4, 2017 Hotel Openings No Comments Email Email

Hotel Chicago-Illinois Medical District (IMD) has launched a unique new art initiative called The Annex in celebration of its recent one-year anniversary. Adorned with original photography work that encompasses the lobby and all hallways, The Annex aims to inspire both the everyday guest and the art enthusiast with rotating and permanent exhibitions. A grand opening reception will be held at The Annex on September 13, 2017 during EXPO Chicago week.

Helmut Horn Print on Display at The Annex at Hotel Chicago-IMD

“When we opened a year ago, we looked at our clean new walls as blank slates,” said Hotel Chicago-IMD’s Jean-Luc Laramie. “Our management company, Portfolio Hotels & Resorts, encourages its properties to promote artistic expression, so we decided to bring visual art into our space. The result is transformative.” Though alternative by traditional exhibition standards, the property feels more authentic, personal, and inviting with the inclusion of art. Use of guest halls as exhibition space, for example, mimics how a collector may display works in a private setting. “We all feel more at home with the art.”

Credit should be given when due: one of Portfolio’s founders, Helmut Horn is a cultural enthusiast who sets the tone for the company’s culture. Horn not only encouraged the art initiative, he generously offered to help kickstart the arts program by lending work from his personal collection and archive to the Hotel for their first series of exhibitions. The Annex now boasts an impressive permanent collection, all of which are currently on public display, and shall host future programming with local cultural partners such as galleries, university art programs, and artists to bring new, cutting-edge exhibits on a rotating basis. To further promote the proliferation of culture and cultivate a culturally rich vibe, the hotel offers discounted overnight rates for traveling artists.

“When it comes down to it, I’m an aging, shy country boy with a knack for experimentation and adventure,” said the humble Horn. “Art can only come to life when on view.”

Currently On-View at The Annex:
Four mini-exhibitions are currently on view at The Annex and arranged by floor or space. This string of exhibitions focus on the eye of an art’s patron and experimental artist Helmut Horn, and mark the West Loop hotel’s foray into its dual-role as hotel and cultural center.

The Polaroid Impressionism series, which can be found on the first floor, are fun and playful, nostalgic and painterly. Created with a process that has now gone extinct, the artist Helmut Horn took images that were manipulated in the moments before the emulsion dried. Like a memory, they are both idyllic and imperfect.

Selections from the Permanent Collection may be found on the second floor; Horn collected these works from around the world, and include samples from a range of genres: portraiture, landscape, and still-life among them. The aesthetic is elegant and moody, seductive, yet gritty.

The Beauty and the Heart series on the third floor, also by Horn, are experimental. The large prints feature the figure, in whole or in part, and are saturated by color. At first the viewer needs to adjust their eyes and sense of scale to know what they are looking at; deep midnight blue and impassioned red are the palate of the frames the artist calls The Beauty and the Heart. The deep blue tones were achieved by long exposures of 35mm film to the last rays of light after sunset; and the bold red by exposing the same film to small incandescent lights.

The lobby holds an array of seductive Underwater Nudes. These works (also by Horn) were created with a Hasselblad camera in an underwater housing in a pool painted black. Natural sunlight is reflected by the figure, as it has no other escape, while the light super-aluminates the body.

The Annex at Hotel Chicago-Illinois Medical District:
1622 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 243-2900
http://www.hotelchicago1622.com

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