NEW YORK – You don’t expect to find paintings from motel rooms hanging in a New York art gallery. But Openhouse gallery will be showing art from Super 8 motels and giving it away with help from comedian and lifestyle guru Amy Sedaris.
“Let me tell you something,” Sedaris said in a phone interview Monday. “That art could not be uglier. The hardest thing I ever did in my life was to come up with names for it all. That was really hard. You’re just looking at something, and I don’t know what to call it – ‘That (expletive) Duck’ – mindless art.”
Sedaris was tasked with naming each of the artworks, about 100 of them. The Wednesday evening giveaway at Openhouse gallery is called “When the Art Comes Down: Works from the Super 8 Collection.”
The “not-so-super” Super 8 artwork mostly consists of paintings, like “your very typical deer in a snowy field by a babbling brook,” said Mike Mueller, senior vice-president of Super 8’s brand operations.
“Amy appreciates imperfection with humour. We thought as co-host, she could bring some really interesting light to what could be perceived as very uninteresting art,” said Mueller.
Some of the works have hung in motel rooms for 40 years. They’ll be given away to the public, first come, first served.
Mueller said the send-off would help “highlight the transformation” of the Super 8 brand. The brand’s new look includes “decluttering our guest rooms by taking down art that amounted to noise,” Mueller said. Instead, oversize bed headboards will be decorated with black-and-white photos of local points of interest.
Sedaris says she’s familiar with the old Super 8s. “When I was touring with Second City, we always stayed in Super 8s,” she said.
The brand modernization will encompass all 1,800 North American Super 8s by the end of the year.
Super 8 and Sedaris will also make a donation to The Center for Arts Education to mark the redesign.
The giveaway takes place during a week of high-end art fairs in New York City, but Sedaris noted that at the Super 8 event, “there won’t be any security guards, that’s for sure.”