”Western Motel,” 1957, Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967), oil on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, B.A., 1903. 

An upcoming exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will allow museumgoers to spend the night in a re-creation of the American artist’s 1957 painting “Western Motel.”

The 20th-century American painter Edward Hopper is widely recognized for his depictions of solitude and anonymity—particularly in isolated, often transitory environments, such as empty diners or tucked away rooms. This fall, an exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) will explore the late artist’s canon through the midcentury American hotels, guest rooms, halls, and lobbies displayed in his most emblematic work. 

From October 26, 2019, through February 23, 2020, the Edward Hopper and the American Hotel exhibition will feature more than 60 artworks by the artist, including six of his never-before-exhibited drawings (lent by private owners). In addition to showcasing Hopper’s signature works focused on hospitality-related settings, the display will include road trip diaries and postcards kept by Hopper’s wife, Josephine (“Jo”), who herself was a painter. It will also present 35 works by other American artists, such as Edward Ruscha, that similarly present visual settings related to travel and mobility.

More than paintings and illustrations will be on display at the Richmond museum: For the showcase, VMFA created a three-dimensional room inspired by Hopper’s 1957 Western Motel painting, which will be open for museumgoers to explore and even stay in. As part of the “Hopper Hotel Experience,” visitors can book an overnight stay in the museum’s special Hopper-inspired room. A variety of packages will be available at different price points ranging from $150 to $500. (Some packages will offer additional perks such as dinner at VMFA’s restaurant, Amuse, or a guided tour of the exhibition led by the curator.) There will about 50 nights available to book—on Friday, Saturday, and Monday evenings—throughout the exhibition’s run. Tickets for various “Hopper Hotel Experience” packages will be available to purchase on VMFA’s website starting August 27, 2019.

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For those interested in seeing the Hopper exhibit but less enthused by an overnight museum stay, general admission to the Edward Hopper and the American Hotel is $16 for adults, $12 for seniors (over 65 years), and $10 for youth between 7 and 17 years old (as well as students with ID). VFMA members and children under six years old enter for free.

The Richmond museum will be the only East Coast venue in the United States to host Edward Hopper and the American Hotel. After its debut, the exhibit will travel to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where it will be on display from June 7 through September 13, 2020. 

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