Louisville, Ky.—21c Museum Hotels just opened its seventh property—a boutique hotel with a contemporary art museum in the historic Gray & Dudley Building in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Located near the city’s Printer’s Alley, the 21c Museum Hotel Nashville has 10,500 square feet of art exhibition space open free of charge to the public, a 124-room boutique hotel, and the locally-inspired Gray & Dudley restaurant helmed by Chef Levon Wallace.
“We have had our sights set on Nashville for quite some time, and are excited to bring 21c to Music City,” said Steve Wilson, founder and CEO of 21c Museum Hotels. “With such a robust and exciting art and music scene, we felt the destination matched perfectly with our brand ethos, and we look forward to contributing to the area’s thriving cultural landscape.”
21c was founded by contemporary art collectors and preservationists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson to leverage the power of art to transform communities. 21c Nashville presents rotating solo and group exhibitions, site-specific installations, and a full roster of cultural programming curated by Museum Director and Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites. The museum aims to support and exhibit new work by established and emerging artists, and weave contemporary art into daily life. In the 11 years since its founding, 21c Museum Hotels has commissioned more than 50 site-specific projects that respond and contribute to the character and culture of the communities in which they are located.
Multimedia installations by an international roster of artists are among the major works commissioned by 21c Museum Hotels the will be on view in 21c Nashville’s public and private hotel spaces. The works will include electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Bilateral Time Slicer Intermix, 2017, which uses facial recognition software to record an image of each viewer who passes by a screen and then splices those with images of other visitors in a shifting kaleidoscope of hybrid portraits, which will also appear on screens in the public restrooms. Artists Sebastiaan Bremer, Yung Jake, and Adrian Grenier will transform guest suites through immersive works that variously incorporate sound installations, photographs, videos, and large-scale paintings. These experiential installations will invite guest participation, dissolving the barriers between art and the visitor found in a traditional museum space.
21c Nashville will also feature a rotating schedule of curated exhibitions, including Truth or Dare: A Reality Show which showcases paintings, sculptures, photography, videos, digital animations, and installations by more than 24 artists. Docent tours of current exhibitions and site-specific installations are offered free of charge to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m. Additionally, 21c’s ongoing Elevate 21c exhibition program dedicates exhibition spaces on each of the guestroom floors to present works on loan from Nashville-based artists.
Design and architecture firm Deborah Berke Partners reimagined the historic Gray & Dudley Building as 21c Nashville, preserving the building’s historic elements while creating a platform for exhibiting contemporary art. Erected in 1900, the former wholesale hardware company is a Chicago Style building with large arched windows, a masonry façade with terra cotta accents, and a prominent cornice at the roofline. 21c Nashville’s lobby gallery has historic cast-iron columns and overlooks the double-height Main Gallery on the lower level. The property’s museum space doubles as meeting and event space.
Designed by Deborah Berke Partners, guestrooms have wood floors, high ceilings, custom contemporary furnishings, large windows, and floor-to-ceiling drapery. Three newly-built light wells bring natural illumination into the core of the building, including guest rooms facing the building’s interior. Seven rooftop suites have views of the Cumberland River and surrounding historic district.
21c Nashville is Deborah Berke Partner’s seventh collaboration with the 21c Museum Hotels team and its fourth collaboration with Pittsburgh-based executive architect, Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff and Goettel. Nashville-based contractor R.C.Mathews Company served as the construction manager for 21c Nashville.