Situated in historic downtown Louisville, 21c Museum Hotel is a boutique hotel founded in 2006 by philanthropists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. New York-based artists Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe have created a site-specific sculptural installation that is also a functional hotel room, offering 21c guests a completely immersive art experience. The work, titled Asleep in the Cyclone, is an evolution of the artists’ previous large-scale architectural collages, and extends their exploration of historical and narrative fictions, rogue science, and the contemporary urban environment, based on the counter-cultural artists’ community from the mid-1960′s known as Drop City.
Freeman and Lowe have transformed aspects of the Drop City design practice and philosophy to construct a room that exists in stark contrast to its time and surroundings. Constructed entirely of re-purposed barn wood, custom textiles, original sculptures, and other artworks, the room features a domed ceiling sculpture that recalls the geodesic designs of American architect Buckminster Fuller. Multi-purpose furniture and surfaces designed by the artists are complemented with an antique writing desk, rocking chair, and record player.
A selection of records, chosen by Freeman and Lowe, is included, as are artist-designed blankets, linens, and other curated components. A custom-built cabinet of curiosities includes collages, books, and small sculptures by the artists. Overnight guests Asleep in the Cyclone or awake and lounging, listening to records, and otherwise exploring this immersive artwork, will experience a parallel reality that inspires the senses. As British artist Liam Gillick writes, Freeman and Lowe’s multi-sensory work “reconnects the mind-blowing nature of wonder to the everyday experience.”