A survey of works by Edward Hopper, dubbed “Edward Hopper and the American Hotel,” opened last month at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). The show boasts more than 60 works, including oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and a fully functional hotel room.
The hotel room is a meticulously recreated copy of the suite from Hopper’s 1957 painting Western Motel. The artwork depicts a woman in burgundy sitting atop a similarly-hued bed as she looks back at the viewer; light slants in from the windows behind her, out of which we see a mountainous landscape and the hood of a green Buick. Every detail of the room has been recreated here, from a blue garment thrown over a chair in the foreground, to the angle of the light and the vista beyond—except, of course, for the woman. For rates starting at $150—packages offered go as high as $500—lucky museumgoers get to be the painting’s figure for a night. That said, the room is sold out through February.
Margot Boyer-Dry, a columnist for the New York Times, was recently sent to stay in the room for a night. In an article, she noted that the room’s radio was “wood-finished for historical accuracy but bluetooth-enabled for function” and that “issues of Time magazine from 1957” were strewn about. Her reservation ran from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. and, in a moment of Hopper-esque alienation meeting our modern day equivalent, Boyer-Dry debated the pros and cons of posting a selfie in the room to Instagram. In the end, she posted it.