You may have wondered what it would be like to step inside a painting, but what about sleeping in one? Recently, museums, galleries, and even homestay companies have started offering people the chance to snooze inside recreations of masterpieces, from Vincent van Gogh's beloved Bedroom in Arles to one of Edward Hopper's iconic motel rooms.
This fall, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) will present Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, an exhibition that explores the painter's fascination with the modern inn. In addition to featuring 60 paintings, drawings, watercolors, and illustrations from Hopper's oeuvre, the show will also include a life-sized, three-dimensional recreation of Western Motel, one of his most pivotal paintings.
Much more than a model, this makeshift motel room is fully functional. As the centerpiece of the “Hopper Hotel Experience,” the recreated room will host guests for 50 overnight stays throughout the duration of the exhibition. While some bookings will come with a bonus (“dinner at VMFA’s fine dining restaurant Amuse, a guided tour by the curator and an exhibition catalogue, among other options”), each one will let the lucky guests experience a night in the Western Motel. The experience comes in a variety of packages ranging from $150 to $500.
While the Western Motel is one of many Hopper paintings set in a hospitality setting, it is arguably among his most well-known. By letting guests step—and snooze—inside one of his signature works, the museum allows them to gain a more intimate understanding of the artist and his relationship to his subject matter.
“Edward Hopper is one the best-known 20th-century American artists, yet the public’s conception of him has largely beenfiltered through a time-worn biographical formula that explains his art as the product of a sullen, isolated introvert,” curator Dr. Leo G. Mazow explains. “Edward Hopper and the American Hotel endeavors to consider hotels, motels and other transient dwellings as vital subject matter for Hopper and as a framework with which to understand his entire body of work.”
Edward Hopper and the American Hotel will be view at the VMFA from October 26, 2019 through February 23, 2020. Next month, the museum will share more information about the “Hopper Hotel Experience” (including how to book) on its website. Stay tuned!