Amsterdam: Sex, drugs and art hotel (1999)

R. J. Preece
artdesigncafé - design | 15 September 2009
This report first appeared in Flash Art, 210, page 58 in 1999.

Winston Hotel, Amsterdam

Amidst Amsterdam’s Red Light District, the art-filled Winston Hotel unveiled four new installation-hotel rooms, and three exhibitions on September 22.

The "installations" were designed by Dutch artists Gerda Hahn, Ernst Voss, and Pepe Smit, and English artist Lisa Holden. Hahn offered snapshots around the room, taken of herself in the hotel’s environment— creating a narrative for guests to compare with their own. Smit’s "typical guest room" featured mismatched wallpaper, kitsch knickknacks, and a telephone that plays recordings of concerned mothers in several European languages. Ernst Voss offered repeated imagery of an iconic man. Holden recreated a touristy, "female" environment, and slaps men with fear. Written on the wall: "All I ever wanted is to know that you’re not faking."

"Tough mothers"— in a long hotel hallway—included works by Jim Harris, Mariette Renssen, Peter Lelliott, Cor Groenenberg, Toon Berghahn, Dan Bodner, and Dirk Jan Jager—who was also the curator. In a separate space, Jan van der Ploeg displayed two of his trademark "grip" paintings.

Reopened with an art agenda in 1995, the Winston Hotel has 28 hotel room installations ranging from 110-155 guilders (US$55-78). The remaining 39 rooms are slated for "renovation".