Suite Culture: A Chat with The Art Series Hotels’ Curator

Jane O'Neill, the Art Series Hotel's resident art curator.

Jane O’Neill, the Art Series Hotel’s resident art curator.

Australia’s art scene is one-of-a-kind and there are few organizations that celebrate its unique flavour quite like Melbourne’s Art Series Hotels. A trio of three high-end properties inspired and named after famed artists Adam Cullen, John Olsen and Charles Blackman, each hotel is decked with the luminaries’ unique artwork. We recently chatted with the hotel group’s resident art curator, Jane O’Neill, about what guests can expect to experience at Australia’s trendiest abodes:

The Art Series properties are all named after famous artists. Which of the three is your favourite?

Of the three, I would have to say that Adam Cullen is my favourite artist. There is a keen sense of absurdist humour in his work that is translated through bold colours – the works are both alluring and jarring. I am intrigued by how the energy of his work sets the tone for the atmosphere of the hotel.

What would you say is the best part of your job?

Certainly the most rewarding aspect of my job is the educational component. We have a strong staff education program, where all staff are required to learn about the various artists represented in the hotels. To see the staff actively engage with the works in the hotels and with the broader art scene is fantastic. It seems that the experience of working at the hotels really opens up opportunities for the staff to engage more closely with the arts.

And the hardest part of your job?

In my role, I am granted access to various suites (including the penthouses) for tours and meetings. It has been very difficult to resist the temptation to simply book into a room and relax for the day!

The lobby at The Blackman Hotel Melbourne.

The lobby at The Blackman Hotel.

The concept of the Art Series Hotel Group certainly provides an opportunity for the art community to consider alternative environments for the display of artwork. In addition the art hotels act as a bridge between the tourist industry and the broader Melbourne art scene, thus broadening the possibility of a cultural experience of Melbourne.

Guests can expect a saturation of works by Olsen, Blackman or Cullen, so that by the time they have stayed overnight in one of the properties, they will have a keen sense of the artist’s style. There is a range throughout the hotels of sculpture, works on paper and paintings. Stylistically, each of the artists is quite different, although in each artist’s work we see a tendency towards figuration with abstract influences.

Yes, the celebration of our collections is very important to the philosophy underlying the project. Often, there is a sense of awakening as guests make the connection between the visual image and the background story or inspiration for the particular artwork.

Are there any pieces within the Art Series collections that you’re especially fond of?

Yes, I’m particularly fond of a work on paper by John Olsen which is inspired by the French still life painter Chardin. It’s a surprisingly exuberant piece with a striking combination of reds, yellows and browns.

To find out more about the Art Series Hotels, visit their site at artserieshotels.com.au. And be sure to enter our giveaway for a weekend stay at the Blackman Hotel!

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