Sunday 18 September 2011

Singapore: Ritz Carlton art tour

Ritz Carlton, Zhu Wei Mao figuresThe Ritz Carlton Hotel in Singapore hides a collection of commissioned pieces of modern and contemporary art from the likes of Andy Warhol, Henry Moore, David Hockney, Frank StellaRitz Carlton, Frank Stella 'Cornucopia' and a number of Asian artists.

The first chap in a smart black suit we spoke to in the hotel had no idea about the guided tour but the reception desk staff provided his and hers, pink and blue ipods and guidebooks on the art and architecture.

As we wandered through the building with dangling headphone wires and guidebooks in hand, it became obvious that we being viewed rather suspiciously by many of staff that clearly had no idea what we were doing. A few members of the public also looked understandably puzzled as we stood in front of Betty Woodman's 'Vases and Lattice' while they nibbled on their pastries.

At one point, as the commentary provided arty-farty Ritz Carlton, David Hockney 'untitled lithograph'descriptions about the glasswork exhibits in the Chihuly Lounge, I caught Mrs M looking at her watch. I accused her of being more interested in the tea and cakes. I was not wrong. Ritz Carlton, Tay Bak Koi 'Chrysanthemums'Nonetheless, we continued the tour of the lobby level, down the stairs (also an exhibit on the tour) and through the lower levels.

Something didn't seem quite right. The setting for many of the works was too ornate and slightly incongruous, providing a distraction from the simplicity of the modernistic works of art. The bare whitewashed Ritz Carlton, Frank Stella 'Moby Dick Series'walls of a minimalist hotel would have been more appropriate.

After returning the ipods, Mrs M enquired about the cost of afternoon tea which, it turned out, would not have left much change from $100. We therefore drove back making grand prix racing car noises on the roads near the hotel that were being prepared for the race next weekend towards a nice cup of tea and a slab of homemade bread pudding.

No comments: