My husband and I took a tour of the Lord Baltimore Hotel with the Director of Sales last week. I love any insight I can get into historic architecture and being granted the opportunity to look at elements that are not necessarily open to the public.
Did you know that this hotel is owned by Mera and Don Rubell? This couple are well-known art collectors and their passion shines via the art in the hotel. (Fun fact: Don Rubell is also the brother of the late iconic nightclub owner Steve Rubell. Yes, the very same Steve Rubell of Studio 54 notariety who was later portrayed on the big screen by Mike Myers.) Even though they own this Baltimore property, they split the majority of their time between New York City and Miami. The latter of which is home to the Rubell Family Collection / Contemporary Arts Foundation.
In the Lord Baltimore Hotel, a series of solid painted canvases in an array of colors were a standout. Initially I only noticed red and the yellow painted squares but as soon as they were on my radar, I started seeing them everywhere and in different colors and square dimensions.
This art inspired me to reflect upon my introductory graduate course in historic preservation. There is a debate within the field regarding objects within historic structures which are not necessarily original to the building. In an historic house museum, for example, should the stewards seek to replace original objects that were once part of the larger material culture experience? Or would it be confusing?
On that note, I appreciated that the paintings did not take away from the historic interiors. It was clear that the paintings were of the contemporary variety, so the context of the art within the architecture would not cause confusion. It was crystal clear that the paintings were not original to the Jazz Age hotel, and yet they were subtle enough not to disrupt the historic interior.
When Jamie and I found that we (the lining of his pants, my socks and shirt) matched the maroon square, we were clearly into it.