The New York Times paid attention to the James Hotel which has a curator on staff named Matthew Jensen who worked from an online database of 1000 artists to come up with 14 whose work could each be featured on one of the hotel’s 14 floors.
Hotels have been hanging fine art on their walls for decades now. Ian Schrager commissioned a series of Robert Mapplethorpe prints for what is considered the original boutique hotel, the Morgans, in 1984; the Roger Smith, a small property in Midtown Manhattan, transformed its lobby into an art gallery and performance space as part of a 1991 renovation. […]
“Hoteliers are not only trying to come up with a theme or a style that attracts customers, but they are approaching it in a much more professional and involved way,” said Sean Hennessey, chief executive of Lodging Investment Advisors, a consulting firm in Valhalla, N.Y. “It used to be that you could get away with just slapping something up in the lobby,” he added, “but more and more customers are looking and evaluating it much more closely.”
[…] Denihan Hospitality Group, which is developing the hotel, operates another James Hotel in Chicago that is also dedicated to emerging art. At the Surrey, one of its New York hotels, work by established names like Jenny Holzer, Claes Oldenburg and William Kentridge nods to its location on East 76th Street, near major art showcases like the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The Hotel as Art Gallery (New York Times)