Harbour Masters – Vanity Fair Art Feature
The Hamilton Princess hotel could quite easily be mistaken for a gallery. But what Michelle Jana Chan finds is a living, lived-in space in which art fulfils a very different role.
Wesley, the doorman, is wearing Bermuda shorts and long socks. He welcomes me at the entrance with a thermometer. He’s probably smiling but, like me, he’s wearing a mask, so I can’t be sure. I push my way through the double doors and clean my hands at the sanitiser station.
Everything feels normal, well, kind of. In the way all this has become normal.
But then suddenly it doesn’t, because the lobby of the Hamilton Princess is anything but normal. On my immediate left, there’s a blood-red Anish Kapoor dish mounted on the wall, inverting the reflection of the crowded room, and above is an oversized dog’s head, glossy black, cartoonish, by Yoshitomo Nara. A Jeff Koons’ mirrored Monkey (Blue) hangs near a kitsch statue, also by Koons, of a pair of ballerinas in cream tutus.
Scanning the walls, I take in Banksy’s petite, poignant etching, Girl with Balloon. Above me are eight prints from Andy Warhol’s Camouflage series, his last portfolio; three tiers of Nara paintings; and a pair of Shepard Faireys celebrating public healthcare workers, obviously quite new. The showstopper for me is the geometric sculptural sphere by Ai Weiwei, Untitled (Divina Proportione). Ai’s portrait, Cost of Expression, hangs on the opposite wall, one of Fairey’s best. Without realising it, I find myself holding my breath.
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