It’s one thing for a luxury hotel to wrap itself in fine and visually appealing things. Lots of them are adorned with plush furniture, large paintings and sophisticated appointments. But 21c Museum Hotel Nashville puts an emphasis on contemporary art — interactive and visual pieces that challenge the viewer’s way of thinking, force them to contemplate societal themes and even, at its own risk, make them uncomfortable. In this way, 21c truly places the museum before the hotel in a way unlike any other institution.
Since opening in 2017, 21c has added a much needed raffinement to Lower Broadway. It’s a place where locals and tourists alike can relax at the bar, eat at the restaurant or wander the halls and see some truly exotic visual art. These days, that would mean taking in its latest exhibition, “The SuperNatural,” on view until September 1, 2019.
“The bombshell exhibit ‘The SuperNatural’ is capitalizing on the theme — that the relationship between the natural and unnatural is closer than it appears — in a display of more than 70 works by a multinational array of contemporary artists who will fill all three floors of the gallery,” according to press material shared by the museum.
In The Answer to Your Prayers by Kate Clark, for instance, an antelope hide and antlers have been affixed to a human-like bust, creating an eerily realistic hybrid between the perfectly natural and shockingly uncanny. Like other works in the collection, it momentarily seems like it could be real before quickly becoming recognized as fantastic.
Clark is a New York-based sculptor whose other work lives in the same vein as The Answer to Your Prayers — mostly human figures transfused with human faces. Her art has been exhibited at Brown University, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the Nevada Museum of Art.
21c Museum Hotel Nashville is located at 221 2nd Avenue North.