I’m always pleasantly surprised when I find (quality) art in public and unexpected spaces. Art has the power to transform the mundane into the magnificent with the right piece or installation. I experienced this first hand while visiting the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare over the summer. While visiting the hotel for a friend’s wedding (lovely!), I was quite impressed with the quality and quantity of art found all throughout the hotel – a massive, striking sky-blue painting behind the check-in desk, large canvases around every corner, intricate installations down the hallways, etc. I’ve since learned a bit more about the hotel’s mission to support the visual arts, and their connection to local Chicago artists and galleries.
The hotel features an “Art Museo” – a makeshift gallery concept set up throughout different walk-through areas of the hotel – viewable by hotel guests, or visitors strictly interested in seeing the art. Most of the work is available for sale, and complimentary gallery tours are available upon request; though, I found it just as fun to wander by myself and admire all there was to see.
On view now through the rest of the year is Elevate. The exhibition explores how artists attribute, glorify, and elevate the everyday [think Rauschenberg’s newspaper screenprints and Tony Fitzpatrick’s alphabet series - both on view, among many more works and installations]. The exhibition features work from six of CGN’s River North neighbor galleries: Addington, Andrew Bae, Roy Boyd, Printworks, Schneider, and Zolla/Lieberman.
“Elevate tells us how artists see value in things easily taken for granted. They encourage us to stop, look, listen, and enjoy,” says Art Museo head curator Martha Schneider, of Schneider Gallery in Chicago. “Their works remind us of the power, beauty, fragility, even turmoil of our world. Often it is the simplest everyday places or objects that spark inspiration and contemplation.”
The InterContinental team is also gearing up for Chicago: Rich Source of Young Artists, an exciting new art program debuting this fall that will feature fresh work from recent or soon-to-be graduates from some of Chicago’s top fine arts schools. Exhibitions will rotate quarterly and pair with various local schools including The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), University of Illinois, and Northwestern. The first series will open to the public on September 16, and will feature mixed media work from eight artists from Columbia College.
The program is aimed at rewarding local, emerging, hand-picked artists while providing hometown support and exhibition opportunities. Work from these up-and-coming artists will be displayed within the same gallery space that boasts iconic masterpieces from many world-renowned artists. The Art Museo at ICO will also make scholarship contributions to the selected school’s art programs.
Click here for more information on the InterContinental O’Hare, and stop by for a sampling of some of Chicago's rich visual arts.