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At The Roger Smith, Art Grows Out of the Walls

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  Site Where: 501 Lexington Ave [map], New York, NY, United States, 10017
January 27, 2011 at 12:31 PM | by | ()

Ever walk into a hotel lobby and find yourself surrounded by hundreds of miniature paintings fastened randomly to the wall? We didn't think so. That's why The Roger Smith Hotel decided to curate Lobby Series #19: Far Away, So Close.

Queens-based artist Deborah Wasserman will paint abstract images on five hundred palm-sized wooden blocks, and spread them out in an "uninterrupted swell" across the entire space. Each painting is aimed to evoke feelings of "passing time" and "travel" (fitting for a hotel, no?), but don't expect anything too literal.

"Any given block might have started as a map or road sign, but at this point, you wouldn't look at it and say, 'Ah! there's a road sign,'" explains Roger Smith Arts Communications Manager Danika Druttman. "Consequently, when you spend time with the 500 works as a whole, in their entirety, you start to see a story form."

The mini paintings, which will remain in the circular lobby for three months starting January 31, hopefully won't catch guests too off guard (or make anyone dizzy from staring at them). But then again, presenting the unexpected is partly the point.

"The idea is, when someone walks into the lobby, they're expecting to walk into a hotel. And if they're expecting art, they're expecting pretty standard, unoriginal work. The last thing they're expecting is 500 little paintings!"

Now, you might say we've spoiled the surprise, but the novelty remains intact—we don't know too many other hotels doing this. So go check out the series for yourselves (it will be accessible 24/7), and post your feedback below!

[Photo of Deborah Wasserman's Homeward Found exhibit via DeborahWasserman.com]

Archived Comments:

Amazing art

I visited the hotel recently and was blown away by this exciting installation. How creative and fun! Each miniature manages to demonstrate painterly vitality despite their tiny stature; collectively a pixelated, fractured narrative emerges. Deborah Wasserman is an artist to watch. Great talent-spotting by the Roger Smith team!