Hidden treasures

Returning from my evening stroll around the Marina Bay precinct I was struck by two larger than life Mao suited structures that were seeming guarding the doors of the Ritz-Carlton Millenia. I hadn’t actually noticed them until that point and so I stopped to have a look at the shiny silver plaque that was placed in front of the foot of one of the two soldiers. It turns out these two imposing sculptures were created by Beijing born painter/sculptor Zhu Wei who is famous for his terracotta warrior inspired Mao Cadres.
I later learned these two warriors were part of the Ritz-Carlton Millenia’s very extensive art collection including some 350 major museum quality pieces valued at over $5 million. The collection includes “Cornucopia” a three tonne roof sculpture created by Frank Stella which is suspended high above the hotel’s light drenched lobby. The work, which was commissioned by the hotel is an abstract sphere inspired by the movement and form of a visor. In fact there are several stunning Frank Stella pieces including two massive modern fresco’s which are displayed at the entrance to the hotel’s pool area.
In addition to the Frank Stella pieces the hotel boasts a number of limited edition pieces by David Hockney, Henry Moore, Andy Warhol and Sam Francis. Dale Chihuly also features throughout the hotel with two striking glass sculptures installed in each of the Ritz-Carlton’s lobby dining rooms. As a big Chihuly fan I also noticed several smaller pieces were peppered throughout the hotel (including inside a few of the hotel’s feature gardens).
But there is so much more and for anyone who hasn’t completely filled their appetite for art or for the business traveller looking to experience a bit a culture while they are in town, the Ritz-Carlton has created a self guided pod cast of entire collection. The pod cast provides insight into the each piece, the artist’s history and interesting anecdotes that bring the collection to light.
Apparently, California-based art consultant and curator Elizabeth Weiner assisted in bringing the collection together. She described the works as “vibrant expressionism” which feature predominantly “pop art” or colour field pieces, an American style of art that dates to the 1960s.
I was very impressed by this collection and congratulate the owners of the Ritz-Carlton Millenia who I understand were the masterminds of the project. I have no doubt a great deal of time and effort has been taken to offer this unique experience to hotel guests and the local community.


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