The Story Behind The Art Collection At The Wythe Hotel In Brooklyn

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It seems Brooklyn is full of hotels now – the newly opened Hoxton, William Vale, and Ace are three that come to mind – but even in the midst of new openings, the Wythe Hotel is still the coolest. Opened in 2012 in an abandoned cooperage on the Williamsburg waterfront, the Wythe Hotel was Brooklyn’s first boutique hotel. From its industrial-inspired design to its French brasserie and trendy rooftop bar, it embodies Brooklyn’s philosophy. But perhaps the hotel’s most unique aspect is its art collection, which includes hundreds of works on paper as well as large-scale murals and paintings by 60 artists on display in rooms and suites. public spaces.

“The original idea was to build something that really belonged to Brooklyn because at the time, that didn’t exist when it came to a hotel,” said Peter Lawrence, co-owner of the Wythe Hotel. Brooklyn Review. He and his partners, real estate developer Jed Walentas and restaurateur Andrew Tarlow (who is no longer involved with the hotel) wanted to tell the story of Brooklyn – Williamsburg in particular – as a community of artists drawn to lofts. spacious, and through their energy and creativity transformed the once rugged neighborhood into the vibrant cultural destination it is today.

The crochet figures in the setup space off the lobby are by Wells Chandler. Photo by Alisha Siegel

Lawrence and his partners hired Brooklyn-based artist Tom Fruin to create the iconic hotel sign on the exterior of the building and worked with Steve “ESPO” Powers and Duke Riley, who contributed pieces. to public spaces. But when it came time to put art in the 70 rooms of the hotel, they needed help. So they hired another local artist, Kimia Ferdowsi Kline, to be the hotel’s art curator. A talented and extremely trendy painter on the Brooklyn art scene, Kline has gradually built up the hotel’s collection, which contains works by Brad Kahlhamer, EJ Hauser, Jason Stopa, Michelle Segre, Susumu Kamijo, Kathy Bradford, Chris Martin, Marina Adams and Rachel Eulena Williams, among others.

“I think being a practicing artist gives me a different level of access to Brooklyn’s creative community,” Kline says. “We don’t sell prints in our lobby, we don’t order artwork from Target or Amazon for our walls. Everything is done by hand, by an artist, in his workshop, sometimes just down the street from the hotel. I think the curation and the collection really show the intimacy and the trust that we have built with the artists and that we continue to build.

art by Brad Kahlhamer in a suite at the Wythe hotel
Brad Kahlhamer’s sketchbook pages framed in the Loft. Photo by Carli René

Before the pandemic, Kline hosted vernissages – held whenever all rooms on a given floor had art installed – commissioned rotating art exhibitions for the lobby, invited artists to come in residency, and organized raffles. Although the pandemic has brought events to a halt, they are slowly coming back, starting with raffles and movie screenings.

“Organizing events where artists can come together, share ideas and celebrate each other’s work is transformative,” says Kline, adding, “Because nothing is for sale, we are completely avoiding the art market. art. It’s just about celebrating the wealth of creativity and genius that exists in Brooklyn, and doing our best to convey that energy to our guests.

On December 8 at noon, Kline will be offering Untapped New York Insiders a virtual tour of the hotel’s art collection and an overview of its curatorial process, starting with studio tours. She will highlight some of her favorite pieces from the hotel’s permanent collection, explain the hotel’s curatorial philosophy and how it focuses on community building, and provide an overview of the public programming of the hotel. The event is free for the Untapped New York Insiders (and get your first month free with the code JOINUS).

Wythe hotel sign

Visit of the Wythe Hotel art collection

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