Amy Sedaris Gave Us Bad Hotel Art Last Night: See What We Nabbed
“Don’t worry, we cleaned the cum off of them. There are no stains.”
That was my first indication that it was time to forget the hotel, motel, Holiday Inn. When it comes to budget hotels, last night was all about a Super 8 Motel revival, lead with valiance and grace by beloved comedian and actor Amy Sedaris. With her reassurance that no black lights would be needed to inspect the art, an eager crowd began their quest to find the next great piece to hang over their toilets.
Despite the appearance of a handful of sophisticated and tight-laced art collectors and the freeloaders on the hunt for an open bar (there was one, it had watermelon beer, and it tasted great), the gallery opening was a hilarious celebration of the mundane. At When the Art Comes Down: Works from the Super 8 Collection, there were no thousand dollar paintings—there weren’t even dollar paintings. Each of the more than 100 perfectly curated masterpieces were handpicked from the lavish halls of Super 8 Hotels across America, and they were up for grabs for the low price of absolutely free. That’s right–the paintings were just being given away, a far cry from the usual super expensive New York art scene. And we got one! After wading through the framed meadows and streams, we discovered a gem called “Meet Me At the 19th Hole,” which is probably also the name of a porno we never want to see. When we presented the masterpiece to Sedaris for Amy-Authentification, she took one look at it and immediately asked, “are they lovers or brothers?” Lovers, brothers, or maybe both. That secret will remain in the halls of Super 8.
After Sedaris and Mike Mueller, senior vice president of Super 8 Hotels, explained that all proceeds would be donated to The Center for Arts Education in commemoration of the event, the gallery began to buzz with excitement over a prospective goldmine of bad art. Armed with numbered stickers and an assortment of paintings that looked like the discount art section at Michael’s Craft Store, gallery enthusiasts hunted for the best, worst, and most bizarre art that Super 8 had to offer.
As viewers perused the gallery and picked their favorite pieces, the names stuck out just as much as the art–each piece was renamed by Sedaris, who assured us that no mild-altering substances were used. Art retitled with named like “Giggles Haha,” “Memories of Granny,” “Summer’s Bounty,” and more were up for grabs and ready to be given the Amy-Authenticated seal of approval. They even wrapped them afterward so your priceless piece of art didn’t have to tough it out under the stormy Manhattan skies.
Like your decrepit old couch with the burn holes and mystery stains, the old art was given away to make room for Super 8’s newly modernized rooms. Gone are the portraits of flowers with butterflies, old men golfing, and more watercolor nature scenes than a retirement home. Despite the refresh, viewing the masterpieces that once hung for decades in hotels across the country left many attendees with a newfound appreciation for North America’s largest economy hotel brand.
“This has changed my whole worldview on Super 8. Every room is a gallery,” Zach Gawlik, art enthusiast, breathlessly explained as he admired a painting of an avant-garde vase of flowers. “It was beautiful, poignant, and much better than the continental breakfast,” added his boyfriend Michael Todd. They weren’t alone in their admiration. As dozens of people braved the rain and cold to catch glimpses of the art event of the year, they displayed a range of emotions usually reserved for the moment their Seamless orders arrive.
“I felt freedom. Living in the city, [this piece] brought me back to nature,” said guest Gabby White as her piece, a beautifully painted river clearing, was being carefully wrapped for it’s journey home. In a sense, all of the city dwellers who gathered there last night felt the transcendent magic in the air. Taken from the walls of Super 8 Hotels and placed lovingly into our hearts, last night proved that art lives on forever.
Images shot exclusively for Milk by Chris Thomas. Additional images via Super 8 Hotels.
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