Welcome to The Annex: An Immersive Art Experience
The Annex is a cultural initiative at Hotel Chicago West Loop that seeks to reflect the richness of our immediate community through visual art. Anchored between the West Loop gallery district and the Illinois Medical District, The Annex has shaped its visual arts program to represent the diversity and energy of the neighborhood. With both permanent and rotating collections featuring over 100 pieces of 2-D media, The Annex transforms our boutique hotel into a unique, immersive cultural experience.
Whether you're staying at the hotel or simply exploring the neighborhood, stop by to experience the unparalleled artistic endeavor that is The Annex!
The Annex | Permanent Collection
The Annex's permanent collection lines the walls of the hotel's lobby as well as the corridors of the second and third floors. The Annex | Permanent Collection features multi-media works created and collected by the prolific and adventurous Helmut Horn.
First Floor Collection
The journey into Horn’s work begins on the first floor, where visitors experience Horn’s now extinct Cibachrome process in selections from his Polaroid Impressionism collection. By manipulating images before the emulsion dried, Horn was able to achieve an idyllic yet imperfect effect.
Second Floor Collection
Selections from The Annex | Permanent Collection can also be found on the second floor. Horn collected these works from around the world and has works ranging from portraits to landscapes to still-lifes. The aesthetic is elegant and moody, seductive yet gritty.
Third Floor Collection
Horn’s experimental works continue on the third floor with his Beauty and the Heart series. Exposing 35mm film to sunlight, Horn was able to achieve deep blues that contrast with the rich reds he developed by exposing the same film to incandescent light.
Annex | Murals
Introduced in spring 2018, The Annex | Murals is an ongoing bi-annual initiative designed to feature works by Chicago-based street artists in guest rooms. Works by well-known and emerging artists have been executed in six of our guest rooms, and we plan to commission more in-room murals throughout the year. To date, works have been made by Asend, Elloo, Josh Grotto, Brandin Hurley, and JC Rivera.
Annex | Murals are on view during event receptions and by request when not in use and may be reserved by booking an Annex Experience.
Coming Soon: AbilityLab Showcase
Hotel Chicago West Loop is currently working to debut another aspect of the Annex: AbilityLab Showcase. This fourth floor exhibition will feature art therapy works by patients with disabilities and is being organized in affiliation with Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
Check back soon for more information about this exciting, new installment at The Annex!
A Quick History of The Annex
Since its launch in the fall of 2017, the project has evolved significantly. At its outset, The Annex encompassed the lobby and guest halls and featured photography collected or made by local patron and artist Helmut Horn. These works remain on view at The Annex | Permanent Collection.
In early 2018, we expanded our commitment to The Annex art program by commissioning renown urban artists to create unique street murals in select guest rooms. The Annex | Murals program adds another element to the hotel/gallery concept by pulling visitors beyond the public space and into the guest rooms for viewing. The contributing street artists have created floor-to-ceiling wall murals inside guest rooms with themes that incorporate Chicago.
Meet the Artists
Meet The Annex's contributing artists for a deeper understanding of the project's vision, execution, and themes. Through their stories, works, and creativity, Hotel Chicago West Loop has become a unique, dual-purpose hotel/gallery concept unlike anywhere else in the city.
"I am starting a series that focus on a classical painting approaches to portraiture, with contemporary/colorful backgrounds. The idea is to study the contrast between the smooth, subdued aesthetic of oil portraits, versus and the vibrant/loose feel of street art mediums like cans and sprays. The result is an intersection of classical painting with an urban vibe."
"I first started drawing The Bear Champ in 2010, I wanted to create a character that was not human, and not too specific in terms of race, so it’s more symbolic. He used to smoke, he was beat up, he had a little chip on his shoulder. I’ve been through a lot as an artist. I’ve been taken advantage of without getting recognition. I feel like I’m finally at an age when something is working for me, so that’s when I started making the bear a little more positive. [and] gave him the crown—cause now he’s a champion. It took him a while to get where he is, but now, he’s more successful, more iconic, more positive, like me."
"I have always been fascinated by the blurred line between waking life and dreams, reality and perception. Children often see the world as large and foreboding, miraculous and awe-inspiring, overwhelming and magical. Their imagination enhances shadows, deepens darkness, draws to prominence the smallest drop of dew or shimmering particles of dust. Their perceptions become interwoven with reality, projecting their own awe and wonder upon everyday life. As an artist, I try to live in this space and make it visible to others."
"I wanted to create a sweet dreams love-lets fly away feeling. My characters are all an extension of me, my monster children. I love painting magic on walls."
"I took particular attachment to this line: “And Chicago divided your heart. Leaving you loving the joint for keeps. Yet knowing it never can love you.” I used two photographs taken of Algren by Art Shay as sources for the train silhouette and his portrait in the window. Shay was a writer and photographer for Life, Time, and other national publications."
Experience A Unique Blend of Creativity and Comfort
The Annex Experience
Stay in an Annex Room
For the ultimate Annex Experience, stay in a room with one of the hotel's unique murals! To request one of The Annex | Murals rooms, call us at (312) 243-2900 and let us you know you'd like The Annex Experience.
The Annex Rate
Rates Starting at $119.00
To further support the local arts community, Hotel Chicago West Loop is dedicated to art appreciation as a charitable endeavor. When you book a regular room using the special code 'ANNEX", 10% of your regular room rate gets donated to a designated non-profit that promotes the arts in the local community.
The hotel worked with the Art Alliance Illinois in 2017 and is working with Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Art Therapy programs in 2018 and 2019.
Explore the Annex
Contact and Press
Want to cover The Annex in your news story, blog post, or article? Need to know more about this unique concept? We'd love to talk!
Jody Grimaldi, Grimaldi Public Relations
The Annex Art Consultant
Jennifer DeCarlo, jdc Fine Art