Art

Ever Wanted to Sleep in an Edward Hopper Painting?

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts offers the next best thing

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, you can find an Edward Hopper painting come to life.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / November 22, 2019 10:48 am

There’s something gloriously tactile about the paintings of Edward Hopper. When you look at one, and take in its carefully arranged use of light and space, it’s easy to imagine standing in it yourself and immersing yourself in its smallest details. (See also: this anthology of Hopper-themed fiction.) But so far, no one’s actually been able to travel into an Edward Hopper painting — until now.

As part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ new exhibit Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, a reconstruction of Hopper’s painting Western Motel has been turned into a room that guests can book for a night. At The New York Times, Margot Boyer-Dry was one of the first to spend the night there, and wrote about her time in the room.

The Hopper Hotel Experience offers guests an array of options, from simply staying in the room overnight to having the exhibit’s curator give you a private tour. The packages also include miniature golf, because, really, who doesn’t like miniature golf? Besides Hopper’s artwork, the exhibit also includes art from the likes of Berenice Abbott, John Singer Sargent and David Hockney.

But how’s the room, you might ask? Boyer-Dry notes that the experience is more pragmatic than transcendental. “I had traveled all day to reach Richmond, and these pristinely basic quarters were the main event,” she writes. “Ultimately, it reminded me of every other hotel room I’ve ever stayed in.”

This isn’t the first art exhibit that allowed guests to spend the night. In 2008, Jerry Saltz memorably wrote about the night he spent in the Guggenheim in Carsten Höller’s Revolving Hotel Room. And other recent creative works, from the theatrical performance Dream of the Red Chamber to Max Richter’s Sleep have also involved slumber in some way. 

If the idea of spending the night in a Hopper painting piques your interest, though, here’s one word of caution: the Hopper Hotel Experience is currently sold out through the end of the exhibit’s run in February. 

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