A vibrant collection of works by some of Colorado’s top artists is now on display in LoDo at the recently-opened Hotel Born. Here, visitors can discover nearly 700 original and limited-edition works encompassing the quality and variety of the Denver art scene. To learn more about the work, we spoke with Adam Lerner, director of Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art, who worked with the hotel to curate the collection.
Lerner had previously worked with Marc Falcone (CEO of Continuum Partners, the hotel’s developer) and Ellen Bruss (one of the Born’s designers) on their personal collections, so he understood their tastes. “I came to understand that their interest for the Born was not something flashy,” Lerner says. “They wanted the hotel to have an overall sense of elegance. They cared about Denver artists because they cared about the authentic connection of the hotel to the city in which it’s based.”
Lerner worked with a budget of about $700,000 to acquire original and limited-edition works from 32 different artists (each artist produced 24 works)—a difficult task as originals are often expensive (which is why most hotels opt to display prints instead). His workaround was to commission mostly smaller works, “intimate in scale to coincide with the intimacy of the hotel.” Artists were then given three months to develop their ideas and submit their work, the majority of which are paintings and drawings, interspersed with a few other mediums.
One of those artists was Daisy Patton, whose oil-painted photo prints are based on her series, Forgetting is So Long. “I really enjoyed being able to be playful and less precious as I worked through the various paintings,” Patton says. “This commission allowed me to test out new work ideas, which is so rare… and such a gift.”
The collection includes works by notable local artists—Laura Shill, Kim Wall, Molly Bounds, Nick Salci, and Hadley Hooper, to name a few—and showcases the range and style of Denver’s art scene, which Lerner describes as having a “general optimism and positivity.”
“I think it’s something about what’s in the air in Denver and the spirit of the West. I think you find a lot of the art has this brightness, that even the…most gloomy, introspective artists are still able to balance.”
Lerner is especially proud of displaying original drawings by Clark Richert (considered the elder statesman of the local art movement, the MCA will host a retrospective of his work in 2018) in the same collection as paintings by rising artist Julio Alejandro. Not long ago, Alejandro was selling his drawings for fifty cents. After working with Lerner, the young talent’s work is now valued at $1,000 a piece. “It shows something about the courage, bravery of the owners, and their willingness to take a risk with young artists,” Lerner says.
The public is welcome to view the 300 works on display in the hotel’s public spaces free of charge. Much of the artwork, however, is displayed throughout the hotel’s 200 private guest rooms (two works per room). You can’t see those without booking a room, though the hotel hopes to create a guided tour via the Cuseum app in 2018.