A seminal selection of works from the Johnson Collection will soon help welcome visitors to Spartanburg. Presently under construction just two blocks west of the collection’s offices, OTO Development’s AC Hotel Spartanburg is slated to open in the autumn of 2017. The forthcoming hotel will take a unique approach to AC by Marriott’s design-driven brand by featuring paintings and sculpture created by faculty members and students at the experimental arts enclave of Black Mountain College. The objects will be highlighted throughout the property, underscoring the hotel’s sophisticated aesthetic, European influence, and Southern connection.
Sequestered in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Black Mountain College was a living laboratory for creative experimentation and interdisciplinary collaboration, attracting artists, musicians, dancers, poets, and thinkers from around the world. Operating between the years 1933 and 1957, the school’s roster included luminaries of the burgeoning modern art scene—groundbreaking artists who would play vital roles in shaping twentieth century aesthetics. Many of the school’s leaders—including the school’s longtime director and Bauhaus master Josef Albers—were intellectual refugees who had fled Nazi oppression. Robert Rauschenberg, Kenneth Noland, Robert Motherwell, Elaine de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Ilya Bolotwsky, Ruth Asawa, and Esteban Vicente are among the artists whose work will be featured at the downtown hotel.
Black Mountain College represented a wholly unique and pivotal moment in American art history. Erin Corrales-Diaz, Curator of the Johnson Collection, notes that the school’s progressive spirit and international perspective inspired “artistic philosophers and practitioners to freely push artistic boundaries. The college’s emphasis on imagination and independence unleashed a tide of creative innovation that continues to influence contemporary art. That this current of avant-garde experimentation was happening in the mid-twentieth century South—and only an hour’s drive from Spartanburg—is a revelation to most audiences.”
Known in hospitality as a sleek, design-driven brand, AC Hotels are intended to be a lifestyle experience. Founded in Spain, AC was acquired by Marriott in 2011, and was imported into US markets in 2014. “Blending Black Mountain College’s bold aesthetic with AC Hotels’ timeless modernity is a perfect match. To showcase works of museum caliber is atypical in hospitality and we are thrilled to make them available to our community and guests,” OTO’s CEO, Corry Oakes, said. “We’re enhancing the guest experience in a unique way, and bringing light to an important time in art history.”
A recent resurgence of interest in Black Mountain College’s import is underscored by a major exhibition presently touring prestigious museums across the United States; a companion catalogue of the same title, Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, 1933-1957, was published by Yale University Press. Both projects include paintings from the Johnson Collection, a private collection dedicated to fine art of the American South.
About OTO Development
Established in 2004, OTO Development is an award-winning, rapidly growing hotel development and management company. Our industry leadership position is anchored by a portfolio of great hotels managed by exceptional people. In the past ten years, OTO Development has developed over 60 hotels and currently operates portfolios of hotels for a publicly traded REIT, private equity firms, and high net worth individuals. Today, the company continues its impressive growth with an extensive pipeline of urban new development projects in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Manhattan, south Florida, and Washington DC.