RUSH STREET ART INSTALLATION
Summer 2016 — Present
At The James Hotel Chicago
Created in partnership with Johalla Projects, The James, with Anna Cerniglia, director and founder of Johalla Projects, commissioned Chicago-based artist Alexander Valentine to create an original installation for the hotel’s façade off the Magnificent Mile, located on Rush Street.
“The addition of public art at The James Chicago mirrors the brand philosophy of The James, elevating the community through art that is approachable, engaging, and interactive,” said Stephen Blackford, General Manager of The James Chicago. “Alexander’s local ties to the city and unique, interactive geometric design pieces make him an ideal choice for the property.”
The installation entitled “Pace & Space” features two original artworks by Alexander Valentine displayed in oversized exterior frames on the east-facing sidewalk by The Patio at The James Chicago. The collage works are comprised of vibrantly colored patterns, reflective of the incoming warm season, that weave and intertwine with geometric shapes, conveying upward movement.
Inspired by interactive forms of media, Valentine distorts visual cues from recognizable contemporary imagery like advertising and alerts for mobile devices, which results in a layering of printed and composed bits of stretched pixels and deconstructed vectors. With these ideas in mind, Valentine’s public art further complements The James Chicago’s existing role as a creative hub, connecting both travelers and locals alike.
“My inspiration for the two collages draws from the interior spaces of the hotel, as well as the perceptual noise and language of interactive and immersive media, such as outdoor signage, typography, advertising and internet culture,” said Alexander Valentine. “I express my interests through distorted, more blatantly graphic forms of public address and the ways those forms vie for our attention."
The installation marks Alexander Valentine’s first project with The James. Valentine was named a Breakout Artist by New City in 2009. His work has been exhibited at various local and national exhibition spaces, including Devening Projects & Editions and Roots and Culture and presented internationally in Den Haag, Vancouver and Tokyo. Valentine is also an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a publisher of artists’ projects and editions under the name No Coast. In May 2016, Valentine was also the subject of a solo exhibition at Johalla Projects, where he presented a number of new, unique works. Additionally, Alexander Valentine will create a limited edition screen print inspired by and complementary of the public art installation, that will be exclusively sold by The James Chicago.
Valentine’s work is the newest public-facing extension of The James’ dedicated art program, the first being The James New York’s collaboration with artist Paul Wackers, which debuted in February 2015 on the hotel’s 6th Avenue façade. In keeping with the brand’s philosophy, the Art at The James program features a mix of local, national, and international artists – both prominent and up-and-coming – and is intended to enhance guests and locals’ visual and cultural journey inspired by the city where each hotel resides. The oversized frames in Chicago will allow for different installations to be rotated throughout the year, allowing The James and Johalla Projects to showcase new and noteworthy local artists. Arriving later this year, The James Los Angeles – West Hollywood, will feature an original public art installation that will be a prominent component of the guest experience and community landscape.
The new public art project can be found on the hotel’s Rush Street façade, near The Patio at The James Chicago, and guests, locals, and passersby are invited to join the conversation via social media and engage with the piece by sharing “selfies” captured in front of the installation. Select photos using the hashtag #jamespublicart will be added to jamespublicart.com, which currently exhibits a collection of images of the New York installation that celebrates the inspiration action between people, art and the public space. For more details, follow @jameshotels on Twitter/Instagram or check out jamespublicart.com.