"The initial concept incorporated historic artworks with nearby favorite places," said Morrison as he worked on that final piece as hotel guests streamed in and out of the elevator. "It's kind of fun, since artists are always doing master studies as a way to develop their practice."
Sage Hospitality, the owner of the hotel, and the curators from Nine dot Arts. Each of the hotel elevator's five parking-garage levels leading to the lobby now displays a classic painting with a contemporary twist. Above "hell" is the "tattoo parlor," which depicts Rembrandt’s "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp." Instead of a lecture hall, though, the action takes place in a tattoo parlor, complete with an image featuring a Baroque-style Morrison giving a tattoo to his co-painter on the project, artist Michael Vacchiano.
From there we go to Edward Hopper’s iconic "Nighthawks" embellished with Denver’s skyline. Next come the video-game-playing, droid-operating, television-watching cherubs, a direct reference to eighteenth-century French artist François Boucher and his chubby putti. Finally, we reach heaven and a comic-book rendition of Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel, complete with a friendly game of "rock, paper, scissors."
Step out of the elevator well to get the full vision, which includes a life-sized image of Slim Goodbody (a 1970s character created to teach kids about anatomy and health) reaching out to touch God.
And the Curtis's art renovation doesn't stop in the high-traffic lobby. Each of the four elevator chambers leading up to the guest rooms will be decked out in colorful works by local architectural photographer Paul Brokering. When you head up to the Sci-Fi Floor, for example, you might get to ride up in an elevator that looks like the cockpit of a space shuttle or the front car on a roller coaster.
The Curtis rooms, lobby and hallways have always tipped a hat to art. In fact, supporting and featuring art is so important to the Sage Hospitality philosophy that the Denver-based company won the 2017 Impact Award handed out on March 15 at the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts luncheon. And even if you're not checking in at the Curtis, you can check out the art: All you have to do is step into the lobby and head toward the parking garage.
See you in hell!
Keep reading for more art at the Curtis.