Luxury hotel chain wants to give you avant-garde dreams

21c Museum Hotels

A new chain of boutique hotels – not by Ian Schrager — promise to deliver high culture in a luxurious environment outside New York. That’s fine. We’ve got the MET.

Founded in 2006 by art collectors and philanthropists Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, 21c Museum Hotels fills its lobbies with provocative contemporary art – think statues of naked children playing behind the front desk. According to Forbes the art is “are purposefully unconventional and unconventionally displayed.”

Currently, the chain has locations in Louisville, Cincinnati, Bentonville, Ark., and Durham, N.C.. It will soon open others in Lexington, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Nashville and Indianapolis.

It’s an interesting model to open luxury hotels only in middle cities. But, there is a certain logic to being the artsy big fish in the culturally bereft pond.