Nestled against the infamous cement barrier that currently separates Israel and Palestine in Bethlehem rests the latest ambitious art installation from the elusive street artist Banksy. Titled the “Walled Off Hotel,” and promising the “worst view in the world,” the experiential art show is a fully functional hotel that will be open for reservations as soon as next week.
Banksy and a team of assistants have spent the last 14 months retrofitting an old hotel, transforming the hallways, lobby, dining room, exterior, and individual guest rooms into an art exhibition. With the exception of a piece that showed up on a schoolhouse wall last June in Bristol, this appears to be the entire focus of the artist’s efforts since closing Dismaland in 2015.
Not all of the artwork in the Walled Off Hotel is Banksy’s. Guest rooms have been given to artists like Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin, with additional rooms opening in the near future. An additional art gallery curated by historian and critic Ismal Duddera will include artworks by some of the most notable Palestinian artists over the last 20 years.
Via the Walled Off Hotel website:
If you stay at the Walled Off you could find yourself literally sleeping inside a work of art. So far Banksy, Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin have customised guest rooms, more will follow. As Diane Arbus once said ‘to live with an artwork is something different, to glimpse it from the corner of your eye.’
The hotel boasts floor to ceiling views of graffiti-strewn concrete from almost every room. And for the exhibitionists amongst you – many are within range of the army watchtower. All scenic rooms are ensuite and equipped with wifi, fridge, radio, personal safe and air conditioning.
Outfitted with surplus items from an Israeli military barracks, this room offers a bed from $30 a night. No frills, includes locker, personal safe, shared bathroom, complimentary earplugs.
Both the location at 182 Caritas Street in Bethlehem, Palestine as well as the collection of artworks are sure to draw a lot of tourism and controversy. The entire exhibit appears focused almost entirely on the ongoing conflict in the region and many of its consequences, but is also sure to draw significant tourism dollars over the next year.
The hotel begins taking reservations on March 11, 2017, (opening officially on the 20th) and is slated to remain open until at least the end of the year. You can learn much more on Banksy’s website and in the hotel’s FAQ.
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