A seminal selection of works from the Johnson Collection is now on view at OTO Development’s AC Hotel Spartanburg. The hotel, which opened in mid-December in the heart of Spartanburg's downtown, takes 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. Highlighted throughout the first floor and mezzanine, these objects complement 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 Bolotowsky, Ruth Asawa, and Esteban Vicente are among the artists whose work is featured at the 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
OTO Development, a Johnson Management company, is an award-winning, fast-growing hotel development and management company. Founded in 2004 and partnering with the Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott brands, OTO's industry leadership position is anchored by a portfolio of excellent hotels staffed by exceptional people. The company has developed more than 70 hotels over the past 13 years while also adding to its list of managed properties, which now comprise approximately 8,600 room keys. Today, OTO's impressive growth is focused on new urban development projects in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Manhattan, and Washington DC as well as increasing emphasis on adding new management contracts with clients ranging from publicly traded REITs to private equity firms to high net worth individuals. For more information, please visit otodevelopment.com.