Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 27 Summer 2010 Contents 216 INSITE SUMMER 2010
Ted Snell is the University of WA’s
Cultu ral Precin ct director. Not
only is he a passionate art lover
and academic, but he is also the
a rt reviewer for The Australian
n ewspaper in Western Au stralia,
a nd chair of the Visual A rts B oard
of the Au stralia Cou n cil.
I’ve en dured some dreadful ar t experien ces i n hotel rooms over the years. So me
roo ms I ’ve slept in have been bedecked with faded prints of the regio n’s natu ral
beauty, others with poor-qu ality reprodu ction s of seco nd-rate paintings or
multiple prints of inco nsequen tial subjects sold off as a job lot, a nd every where
those dreadful fau x abstrac tio ns – all sloppy an d crudely geometric – plastered
with heavy impasto paint. Worst of all was a hotel that had employed a hou se
painter to mi mic the work s of great Australian artists.
So, thank God for the Art Series Hotel, which takes one of the most
dangerous elements in any hotel visit and turns it into a joyous encounter with a
majo r A ustralian artist. Each of the three hotels is n amed after a n ar tist – Charles
Black man , John Olsen an d Adam Cullen – and each featu res their wo rk s. They’re
all in Melbou rne, so the ambience is right for anyon e w ho wants to engage with
cu lture a nd to share their time away from home with a major Au stralian a rtist
befo re walking down the road to the Natio n al Gallery of Victoria o r H amer H all.
At The Cullen and The Olsen, there are original works by the artist and a
series of photographic reprodu ction s i n each ro om an d in majo r fun ction areas,
including transfers o n the opaqu e glass do ors to the bathro oms. Unfo rtu nately,
there are no originals at The Blackman, but outside, printed on the building, is a
Ted Snell gives his nod of approval
to Australia’s Art Series Hotels
CONTACTS The Cullen 164 Commercial Road, Prahran, (03) 9098 1555 The Olsen 637-641
Chapel Street, South Yarra, (03) 9040 1222 The Blackman 452 St Kilda Road (entry via Arthur Street),
Melbourne, (03) 9039 1444. Prices start from $169. Visit artserieshotels.com.au .
large photographic repro ductio n of on e of his Alice in Wonderland works.
This atten tio n to detail is in corpo rated into the theme of each hotel: ‘the ar t of
living fearlessly’ fo r The Cullen, ‘the ar t of creatu re comfo rts’ at The Olsen and,
at The Blackman, ‘the art of lucid dreaming’. After a night at the latter I can attest
to its veracity. In each room, you can access a video on the artist’s work and on a
book stan d there is an excellent little librar y of books on Au stralian ar t, in cl uding,
of course, one on the artist who has given their name to your hotel.
If anything, though, there is perhaps a bit too much art: in my room, four large
reproductions and, on the opaque glass bathroom wall, a dead schoolgirl sprawled
on the ground. The latter was somewhat disconcerting, but Blackman definitely
has his dark side and the hotel doesn’t pull any punches in the selection of works.
But my stay was ultimately a very pleasant experience. The artist’s enthusiasm
for drawing beaming out on my television on arrival – it’s about ‘fearlessly wrapping
a line around your dream’, he was saying – put me in the right frame of mind. And
the most comfortable bed I’ve encountered in a hotel room prompted those lucid
dreams. Then there were also the pleasant, well-informed staff members.
Melbu rnian s a re rightly prou d of their cultu ral life, so it was brave of the
Deagu e family, who o wn the hotels, to select n on -Victorian ar tists. A ll the
above hail fro m the dreaded si n city of Sydn ey – though Black man has stron g
Melbou rne co nn ection s – and all are male. It would have been interesting to
see how the lo cal audien ce wo uld have warmed to The I nge King, The Jen ny
Watson, The Lyndal Jones or The Patricia Piccinini – quite well I’d have thought.
Launched just a year ago, and with plans to expand into Brisbane and
Adelaide, the A rt Series Hotels are a great addition to the cultu ral life of the
country. I Ted Snell was a guest of the Art Series Hotel.
LEFT and BELOW LEFT Rooms at
the Blackman Hotel. BELOW The
Olsen. Both hotels are in Melbourne.
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