Douglas Coupland, Electric Landscapes (series) 
archival pigment print, 2010
installation shot
photo credit: Ariane Colenbrander

Since its grand re-opening in 2011, Vancouver's historic Rosewood Hotel Georgia has caused quite a stir. Its holistic approach to culture, service, and lifestyle, as well as its irresistibly lavish interior design (brought to fruition by Toronto design firm, Munge Leung), lives up to the luxury and glamour that the Rosewood Hotel Georgia has been synonymous with since it first opened its doors in 1927. Though Hawksworth and Bel-Cafe have our mouths watering, and Munge Leung's incredible interior treatment sets our little design nerd hearts beating faster, what really gets us going about the Hotel Georgia is, of course, its in-house art collection.

Nathan Birch, Cricket Stop
acrylic on canvas, 2010
installation shot
photo credit: Ariane Colenbrander 
Selected by art consultancy firm Farmboy Fine Arts  who operate out of Vancouver but have worked on international projects from Hong Kong to Dubai — the works share fresh, dynamic West Coast characteristics that complement the elegant Art Deco interior and reflect the balance between history and contemporaneity that the Rosewood Hotel Georgia strikes. 

Sonny Assu, Spawned
acrylic on panel, 2009
36" x 96"
photo credit: Sonny Assu

Charmingly, the hotel's front desk provides maps for self-guided tours of the work, effectively doubling its shared public space into the realm of the gallery. Enter the hotel on any given day, and you can be immersed in a curatorial vision that reflects both trends in contemporary Canadian art as a whole — the collaboration between established Quebecois artist Guido Molinari and emerging Squamish Nation artist Ray Natraoro, for example — and elegant crowd-pleasers such as David Robinson's bronze sculptures or Takao Tanabe's meditative westcoast landscapes. A great deal of emphasis is put on specifically West Coast iterations of landscape and abstraction, as can be seen in Nathan Birch's Cricket StopDouglas Coupland's remixing of Group of Seven works into his vibrant Electric Landscapes series, and Holger Kalberg's Apparat 5

Holger Kallberg, Apparat 5
oil on canvas, 2010

Much ado has been made about this already: see articles in Modern Mix VancouverInside Vancouver, and the Vancouver Sun for a taster. Farmboy Fine Arts' introduction to the collection (PDF) is a good, quick read for those interested; in addition to providing a map of the works within the hotel, it details the reasons behind the selection of each individual work, as well as provides some insight into each artist's practice. It's refreshing to see a large hotel take on the custodianship of a contemporary art collection; though the financial reward of art investment is an obvious gain, we are quite certain that the Rosewood team is also thrilled to be building a cultural legacy that will reach as far into the future as it does into its glorious past. 


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