Suzi Cordish is the first to admit it: Gambling and fine art might not seem like the most natural pair. But at The Cordish Companies’ new Live! Hotel, all bets, as they say, are off.
The new Cordish Art Collection, curated by Suzi and her husband David, features more than 40 unique art pieces by contemporary artists across all media. While the coup d’etat is the signed Andy Warhol work, titled “$(9),” that will hang in the VIP area, the collection emphasizes the work of rising stars in the art world.
Take Chul Hyun Ahn, a Korean-born MICA grad living and working in Baltimore known for his illusory light sculptures.
“He’s one of the most prominent, young, exciting contemporary artists living in Baltimore,” says Cordish. “[‘Void,’ his piece in Live!] was a showstopper. So strong and exquisite. I knew it was the one.”
The piece is installed at the hotel’s main elevator bank, infusing a normally dull area with depth and interest. In fact, Maryland hotel-goers may recognize the work’s style: Ahn also has a piece in the entryway of the Sagamore Pendry, exemplifying a push on the part of high-end hotels to customize and elevate the guest experience through art.
But Cordish wanted to take things a step further. After all, this isn’t just a hotel—it’s the first Live! Hotel, and unmistakably a casino-forward hotel.
“It’s very different from collecting for my home. It was a lot of work,” she says of the three-and-a-half year process. “But we had an emphasis on work that was fun, exciting, inspirational. There’s a wow factor to every piece.”
Such positivity was important to her, she explains, because it embodies the spirit of the casino.
“With the commissioned pieces, it was so exciting to sit down with the artists and talk about how to convey that energy, that hopefulness,” she says. “Anyone who gambles is so optimistic. You don’t go in thinking ‘I’m going to lose a bunch of money.’ You think ‘I’m a winner, I’m going to have fun.’”
Access to the art is not restricted to gamblers, however. The hotel will be open to non-guests, and Cordish says they have been working on programming around the Collection—something she hopes will benefit both the community and the creators.
“I’ve had a chance to meet all of the artists, and they’re so thrilled to be a part of this and have their art seen by so many people,” she says. “They’ll get more exposure in this environment than in any gallery or museum.”