The Clarendon Hotel and Spa provided an exciting multimedia art experience at ARTELPHX Spring 2014 which brought together the visual and performance art worlds. This event successfully engulfed the entire hotel allowing the viewers and hotel guests to experience installation art within the hotel rooms and by the hotel’s Oasis Pool. Previewing on Thursday May 15th for industry folks and more, they were treated to a trial run of the main events which were then repeated for the public both Saturday and Sunday evening. Upon entering into the massive ARTELPHX experience visitors were greeted by a large selection of umbrellas suspended adjacent to the beautiful pool, which felt like something out of a René Magritte painting. People explored the incredible hotel corridors of the Clarendon searching for the rooms that had been transformed by installations. Simply identified with small placards, visitors were informed of the art in progress and who created the work all while spontaneous performance art pieces occurred around the pool, drawing crowds of people intently gazing upon the artists who bravely bared their souls.
The highlights of the event included a psychedelic room installation by artist Daniel Funkhouser titled “Familiar Glass with Theatrical Spectacle with Transparent Illusion and Artselfie” which was truly a beautiful illusion and captivating work of art. This installation definitely seemed to receive the most social media response, not to mention it was beyond anything visitors have experienced in true Funkhouser style. Another great visual project and installation came from local artist Valerie Hunt examining the idea of aging and how we actually feel with “The Aging Sucks Series”. Her room incorporated photography of hands stamped with numbers, negatives, video, laser light show with music, and people clad in white dancing around the room, the age they feel prominently displayed on their back. Nathaniel Lewis did a hilarious job creating “Untitled Hot Dog in a Deck Chair #1” because who doesn’t love a giant hot dog lounging by the pool with his own bottle ketchup? Finally, an amazing installation came from Katherine Leigh Simpson titled “Divine Intention” which incorporated the room’s bed and messed up sheets along with an intricate organic creation hung from the ceiling made of cardboard, paint, ink and cut paper.
In the performance art sphere the stage was set by the incredible duo of local art favorites Denise Yagmourian and Joe Willie Smith in “Typing Pool”, a collaborative improvisation performance. Smith played music using his uniquely beautiful instruments and Yagmourian responded on the typewriter looking like she just stepped out of a 1950’s film. There were also several engaging performances from Lisa R. Chow and her dance company the Desert Dance Theater. Angel Castro and the Halo Movement Collective performed an amazing piece within a strikingly crafted installation evocative of a cat’s cradle, including stunning costumes. People appeared to really enjoy the performances from every level of the hotel gazing over and watching in curiosity as artists created and performed.
ARTELPHX Spring 2014 was incredibly successful and curator Tara Sharpe set the bar high for her next event by offering a brilliantly curated show that innovatively used a hotel to expose a broad audience to the local arts. Comparatively, the media coverage was greatly increased from last year and the event made for an overall extremely entertaining and unique night. Kudos goes out to the Clarendon Hotel and Spa, the Phoenix Art Museum, and several local businesses for sponsoring such a great event and further supporting our local arts community.