Art is a permanent guest at Gladstone and Park Hyatt hotels

by AryanArtnews
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A decent hotel featured a comfortable mattress, a clean bathroom, and perhaps a nice brunch. If there was art on the wall, it was probably an unpleasant landscape and I didn’t intend to notice it for more than a second.

But as the hotel began to offer more artistic experiences to its visitors, it all began to change about 20 years ago. This was partially driven by the rise of Airbnb, which was launched in 2007 as an alternative to traditional accommodation. When two Toronto hotels, Gladstone House and Park Hyatt Toronto, reopened this fall after a major refurbishment, visual arts acted more than just a marketing calling card. It attracts locals who love culture.

Gladstone is a pioneering force, proving that if there is art, they will come.

When Christina Zydra and her family took over Parkdale’s flagship in 2005, it had the vision of turning the historic Queen West property into a hub for art programming. Under the supervision of Zeidler, the stately Romanes Crivival brick building became the center of culture, hosting book releases, exhibitions, pride parties and the popular Alternative Design Fest Come Up to My Room.

When Zeidlers sold the property to East End Broadview Hotel owners Streetcar Developments and Dream Unlimited in 2020, it promised that local art would continue to be the focus (and Miss Moço’s popular weekly drug branch). I didn’t say goodbye to that place). That vision was realized under the leadership of exhibition director Lee Petrie, who has worked for the city’s oldest operating hotel since 2018.

“We have an artist working on a project that literally lives two blocks away from here,” Petrie said.

If you’ve never been to the Gladstone Hotel back to its original name, Gladstone House, don’t miss the huge check-in desk that once dominated the front lobby. Brian Espiritu’s ceiling mural “Love & Above” will be the focus of attention. The Toronto artist uses his own typographic language to listen to the bold lines of Keith Haring and Basquiat to send words of peace and calm to those underneath. It took Espiritu 21 days to complete a 13,000 character message with a paint marker on a scissor lift.

“It’s his own story, but I love the idea that this one story can make you think about all the other stories in the world,” Petrie said at the start of the tour. “It makes me wonder what will happen while I’m here. How do you contribute to this story?”

The hotel does not have its own gallery. It’s fun to find art no matter where you look, starting with a spinning piece above the fireplace in the lobby. The renewal kick-off is a unique self-portrait by photographer Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart, adorned with plastic cutlery armor lined with two swans.

Take your time in the stairwell to explore the beauty of Christine Sharda’s photographs inspired by the still lifes of the 17th century Dutch Golden Age. To create a masterpiece of these paintings, nearby Sjaarda sets up a flower arrangement in the warm natural light of her home, accompanied by specimens borrowed from the Royal Ontario Museum.

Initially, the Gladstone basement wasn’t open to the public, but now it’s for many purposes, including as an artist-in-residence (now Amanda McCavour) studio that uses live flora to create complex tapestries. It is being used. The washroom has also moved here and is secured by an illustration of the building’s LED neon lights by Kal Honey. The Instagram bait design also serves as a promotional image for a can of English pale ale made by Henderson Brewing.

Much of the art is reserved for guest rooms. Eventually, all the unique works will be featured over the phone by a judge who has collected entries from more than 400 artists. Named after the lake in Algonquin Provincial Park, textile artist Jen Aaron’s giant wall-mounted “Soya Sunset” is spectacular. The entire ceiling above the king-sized bed is covered with winding shades of rose, black, and cream wool that drip into a cave stalactite-like area. Lee says hanging heavy things on the lift was a loving job, but sleeping in that room will make you feel like you’re lying under the sky as dusk shifts to night.

“The only downside to having great artwork in every room is that you can’t see it very much,” guarantees that the work will be promoted on Instagram (@gladstonehouseto) for those who want to peep. Said Petrie. ..

Even before stepping into Park Hyatt Toronto in Yorkville, there is a huge bronze sculpture by Toronto-based Anteru. It’s shaped like two hollowed-out architectural pods, with some organic curved shapes that I would like you to touch.

Inside Park Hyatt's restaurant Joni, there is a mini-rotating exhibit in a glass glass case at the Gardiner Museum. "Fable," Nuriel Stern's organic and mythical porcelain creature.

“Art is a powerful pillar of the Park Hyatt brand,” said Bonnie Strom, general manager of the hotel. “The design of the hotel is intended to focus on art, and the focus is on the entire art program.”

The tour begins immediately with a giant 5 x 7 meter jacquard tapestry in the lobby of Shannon Bool, born in Canada. Boule’s model, which appears to be posing for a fashion show, is portrayed as a horned figure struck by Brutalist Medusa.

According to Strom, Boule’s work begins as a digital photo of a mannequin on the runway, nodding to the fashionable reputation of the neighborhood.

From rustic color palettes inspired by the landscape of the Group of Seven to the first edition of Douglas Coupland’s Collage Triptic, exhibited by famous past regulars such as Leonard Cohen and Margaret Atwood. There is a nod to the natural Canadian. Fashionable rooftop writer’s room bar.

Inside the open-lobby restaurant, Joni, is a mini-rotating exhibit that begins with Nuriel Stern’s organic and mythical porcelain creature, the Fable, in the glass case of the Gardiner Museum. In these fun and supple shapes.

Behind the fireplace is the Sobay Art Award-winning Nadia Meyer ceramic curtain with over 12,000 beads. Ironically, this pattern is inspired by the Dish with One Spoonwampum belt, opposite the Royal Ontario Museum. Meyer, a member of the Algonquin tribe of Kitigan Zibi Anisinabeg First Nations, reminds us of the implications behind indigenous laws that require mutual respect and sharing of land.

“We want people to stroll around the hotel, have fun, experience the artwork, and appreciate the compassion for these artists and their work,” Strome said. I am. “The hotel has been completely renovated, but the essence and undoubtedly the soul of the old space is still there.”


Sue Carter is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Inuit Art Quarterly and a freelance contributor based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @flinnflon


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