Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have named 2017 as the "Year of Public Art", and some of Chicago's hottest hotels will be housing living, breathing art installations. Chicago's reputation as a host of cultural and artistic inclusivity has inspired hotels to showcase art in their spaces for the rest of the year. Some of the hotels that will be hosting art pieces are the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel; The Blackstone, Autograph Collection; and Thompson Chicago.
The Chicago Athletic Association hotel, at 12 S. Michigan Ave., now has "Superflat" on display, which includes a Murakami-inspired installation. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago is presenting "Superflat" in conjunction with the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel until July 31. This installation includes a giant pink octupus on the hotel's ground floor space, which ties back to the hotel's past swimming pool. Murakami designed this octopus for specifically for Chicago, which exemplifies Murakami's signature concept of pairing a contemporary anime-inspired aesthetic in a flattened picture plane with traditional Japanese painting techniques.
The Chicago Athletic Association hotel now focuses on inclusivity, community, a sense of place, and play, compared to the previous structure of the organization that focused on membership. While the companies have the same name, the new version of the Chicago Athletic Association hotel opened in May 2015, for a grand total of 122 years that the hotel has been open. The hotel has a cultural program that allows guests to check out vinyl records for free, and listen to them in the library of the Drawing room; as well as the storytelling series that hosts influential artists, historians, artisans, and musicians to share their stories.
The Blackstone, Autograph Collection, at 636 S. Michigan Ave., will be hosting a variety of different emerging Chicago artists, currently showing Stephen Eichhorn's work. The Blackstone specifically has an Art Hall where these pieces will be on display, in which it has had rotating art installations since 1910. Eichhorn's work includes collages of new micro-ecosystems, with hand cut and selected materials that are from Eichhorn's collection of historical botany textbooks and publications.
The Blackstone has recently renovated in order to reestablish the heart and soul of the building. The founder of the hotel, Timothy Blackstone, recently funded the Art Institute of Chicago's T.B. Blackstone Collection of Architectural Casts. Now, the hotel houses a specially commissioned collection from mostly Chicago artists, with more than 1,600 contemporary artworks.
Thompson Chicago, at 21 E. Bellevue Place, now hosts a Takashi Murakami installation, in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to honor their related exhibit that is open June through September, named Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. The installation at the Thompson will have guests experiences to go with it, including the Thompson Murakami Experience package, classes at Chicago's Hyde Park Art Center, a shopping discount at the MCA store, reduced price tickets to the MCA Murakami exhibit, and a Murakami poster souvenir. The installation at the hotel will house two original prints by Murakami, signed specifically for the hotel. The display at the hotel opened June 30 and will continue throughout the summer.
The Thompson Chicago is known for creating moments for guests to be exposed to art and local cultural experiences, and their partnership with the MCA exemplifies that by wanting to expose Murakami's work to the public by extracting it from the exhibit at MCA.