When The Ned – a hotel and members’ club from the people who created Soho House – opened in London in 2017, part of its appeal was a collection of art intended to challenge ideas about what a club located in buttoned city of london. is.
“In London, I decided to respond to a preconception about what the neighborhood was like,” says Kate Bryan, the global artistic director of Soho House & Co. “Who’s hanging out there? Will they all be guys of a certain age who smoke cigars? Ned proved that there were very interesting people in the City and they needed a place to hang out, which was thoughtfully done. So I decided that our art collection should reflect this inequality.”
What Bryan did was to curate a collection of 100 artworks, 93 of which were by women artists and seven by men, but only those who collaborated with women. It was a deliberate choice to reverse the gender inequality evident in business. “It was a progressive collection and really made a statement,” explains Bryan. “I knew that when we were going to do Ned in New York, I had to think about inclusion and make it the backbone of the collection.”
More of the city and the countryside
Now that Ned’s has opened in New York’s NoMad neighborhood, Bryan has made her plan. “The collection in New York is about the building,” he explains. “It was funded in 1903 by a woman, which was extremely unusual, and it was part of a moment in the early part of the last century when people whose parents or grandparents were enslaved owned businesses, when queer people lived openly in them. bohemian lifestyle and women funded projects. The Harlem Renaissance was only a decade away. There was an amazing time when there were such progressive attitudes, and New York was such a hotbed.”
He continues, “During the rest of the century, however, many of these discoveries were disputed. A hundred years later we are still trying to claim that ground in many ways, so the collection, called ‘A Different Century’, has been curated in response to that moment in history. We ask artists to think about what this last century might have been like and what this one should be like.”
The hotel has commissioned and acquired works by artists such as Marilyn Minter, Mickalene Thomas, David Wojnarowicz, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon and others to not only highlight Bryan’s mission, but also add atmosphere to the space. Ned’s library features a Zoë Buckman sculpture, Cecconi’s restaurant outpost features works by all-female artists, and even the front desk greets guests with works by Minter and Elliott Jerome Brown, Jr.—making clear the dedication to more than just established talent in the art world as well as rising stars. “We always try to make it so that there’s a big impact when you walk in—Hi, we have a Laurie Simmons in our lobby—but also to have layers, you can peel back over time,” she explains. “There are a few surprises.”
It’s something Soho House CEO Nick Jones is excited to share with guests. “New York is so special to me and has been an important part of our history at Soho House and five years after the launch of The Ned London, we are really excited to be able to bring The Ned NoMad to New York,” he says. “Ned London has created a truly new destination in the heart of the city and I can’t wait to see the same happen in New York.”
For Bryan, the artwork in the hotel tells a story about the building’s history, but also serves as a backdrop for the memories made there today. “This place is a love letter to turn-of-the-century New York, and it’s exciting to be in that context,” he says. “Everything feels good, but it’s never so luxurious that one feels out of place. We want people to imagine that this is their art. it’s there because this is a place for people to enjoy.”
Adam Rathe is City & CountryDeputy Features Director, covering arts and culture and a range of other topics.