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Houston’s Largest Hotel Home To Permanent Art Collection
Works By Texas Artists Featured In Hilton Americas-Houston
August 17, 2010
HOUSTON - Hilton Americas-Houston, the city’s largest hotel, is home to an impressive permanent art collection featuring works by Houston and Texas artists, including major works by such artists as Robert Rauchenburg and Jesus Moroles. The Houston Convention Center Hotel Corporation, established to build Hilton Americas-Houston, was committed to putting back into the local community as much as possible in all areas and used that philosophy when choosing the art for the property.
From the beginning, the Houston Convention Center Hotel Corporation wanted to use the magnificent space in the building to showcase Houston and Texas artists. Former Houstonian Ryan Garrett, a nationally known art consultant specializing in hotel and hospital artwork, was retained to locate and commission Houston and Texas artists to build the hotel’s art collection from the local and regional community.
“Hilton Americas-Houston hotel was a significant project for me because it is rare that a hotel is so committed to purchasing quality art pieces,” she said. I’m delighted to say that the success of Hilton Americas-Houston art program has motivated many of my clients to focus their collections on local and regional artists."
Garrett, who ultimately commissioned 30 artists to provide art pieces for the hotel, worked for two years on the project conducting research, designing, coordinating with the hotel’s interior design firm, managing fabrication and handling delivery and installation of the finished pieces.
“With more than 150 art pieces in the public areas and three to five art pieces in each of the hotel’s 1,203 rooms, it’s almost like touring an art museum,” Garrett said.
Much of the work involved “scouting” for the best local talent. Without a predetermined theme, Garrett first toured several of the local galleries, met with representatives from the local art community, including the curator of the Contemporary Art Museum, and then designed the total collection around the varied styles of the artists.
“Houston has so many amazing artists, filling a space as impressively large as Hilton Americas-Houston was not difficult. In fact, it proved more difficult to choose which pieces to include,” Garrett said.
One critical aspect to designing a successful public art collection is art placement, said Garrett. She worked closely with the hotel’s interior design firm, Wilson & Associates, to determine locations for each piece of artwork in the collection. She then selected artists from the strong pool of Houston and Texas artists and commissioned site-specific originals for each location.
Garrett purposefully selected many different styles in an attempt to please the widely varying tastes of the many thousands of people who will visit the hotel through the years. Many mediums are used in the art collection, ranging from oil on canvas, to acrylic on metal, to concrete and resin with candy. “Art is subjective. Everyone reacts to it in their own way. I was pleasantly surprised at the overwhelmingly positive response to the collection,” she said.
Some of the most notable art pieces in the hotel’s collection are the three, color litho prints by one of the 20th century’s major artists, Houston’s own Robert Rauchenburg. Rauchenburg, an established artist whose work is sold internationally, is also known as the “Father of Pop Art.” He is the most widely-known artist featured at the hotel; his pieces are the only limited edition pieces in the collection.
Paul Kittleson, well known Houston artist and head of the sculpture group at the University of Houston’s Art Department, is represented by several pieces in the hotel, including three resin sculptures in The Café restaurant located lobby-level in the hotel. Kittleson’s pieces were selected for their whimsical nature, ideally suited for The Café. Pieces throughout the hotel run the gamut of style and complexity; some are more serious, such as those used in the meeting room areas, while others are more relaxing, such as those used in the guest rooms.
According to Garrett, proper display of a piece is almost as important as the piece itself. She noted that every design job has at least some display challenges and Hilton Americas-Houston was no exception. “Hilton Americas-Houston is a large hotel with plenty of grand space that created a need for large pieces, which usually are more challenging to display,” said Garrett. Rockport, Texas native Jesus Moroles’ large sculpture near the registration area in the lobby area weighs close to 3,000 pounds and had to be placed in a structurally supported area of the lobby. Also located in the registration area, a beautiful oil on canvas sunset by West Texas nationally-known artist Katherine Alexand measures just over 19 feet long, presenting its own set of display issues.
One of the most challenging pieces to display was a concrete piece by local artist Joe Mancusso. “The weight of this piece was challenging to work with,” Garrett explained. "The art piece is made up of nine smaller blocks that hang together and give the appearance of one, seven-foot by six-foot piece. The texture of the concrete contrasts beautifully with the dark, rich wood of the hotel wall on which it is hung and really grabs your attention. Looking past the initial challenges of the collection’s installation, each piece chosen for its space perfectly highlights Hilton Americas-Houston’s contemporary, upscale environment and overall grandeur.”
About Hilton Americas-Houston
Directly connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center, Hilton Americas-Houston contains the city’s largest number of guestrooms, ballrooms, hotel meeting space, and the most technologically advanced services available under one roof. Conveniently situated between Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park, this AAA Four Diamond rated hotel boasts 1,200 luxuriously appointed guestrooms, 91,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, three restaurants, a lobby bar, coffee emporium, and full service spa and health club.
About Hilton Hotels & Resorts
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