Edward Hopper is known for his authentic take on hotels, motels, diners, and more – and come fall, one of the very spaces he painted will become even more realistic, coming to life to welcome guests for overnight stays.
Premiering at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond on October 26 and running through February 23, 2020, Edward Hopper and the American Hotel will examine 60 of the artist’s pieces – drawings and illustrations as well as paintings and watercolors – alongside 35 complementary images by other American artists. This will be the first-ever deep-dive into Hopper’s work in the hospitality space, and to add context, the VMFA is introducing the Hopper Hotel Experience, a recreation of Western Motel, one of the artist’s most iconic paintings, in 3D. The simulated space will be available for bookings, so guests can actually spend a night at the museum – the first time in the VMFA’s history that a piece has been rendered in three dimensions and made public in this way.
Expanding on Hopper’s hallmark themes of loneliness and alienation, the exhibit will also look at how the act of travel itself helped shape his body of work. His wife, Josephine “Jo” Hopper, was also an artist, and she kept detailed diaries as the pair criss-crossed the country, and excerpts describing their trips from New York to Cape Cod and throughout the US and Mexico will also be on display, alongside hotel postcards where they stopped along the way.
“Edward Hopper is one the best-known 20th-century American artists, yet the public’s conception of him has largely been filtered through a time-worn biographical formula that explains his art as the product of a sullen, isolated introvert,” said Dr. Leo G. Mazow, VMFA’s Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art, in a press release announcing the exhibit. “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.”
Details on reserving the Hopper Hotel Experience will be released later this month, and tickets for the exhibit itself are now on sale. To learn more, visit vmfa.museum.