The Importance of Context in Art Collections

Art has the ability to stand on its own with little need for description or explanation. It can have a profound impact on the viewer, who interacts with the artwork in the context of his or her own experiences. But while art has this ability, how much more powerful is it when you understand the story behind the piece?

Curating an art collection within its context allows for a unified experience for the viewer. Whether you’re in public, an office or a hotel, understanding the broader context gives new meaning to pieces that can begin to speak to one another and play off of the larger story of the space.

For the newly opened H Hotel in Los Angeles, context is everything. Far from your typical LAX airport hotel, H Hotel is distinctively modern, with an art collection, curated by NINE dot ARTS, that embodies the spirit of aviation.

Rooted in fun and nostalgia, the art applauds the magnificence of air travel, what it means to our culture and possibilities for the future. Exploring air travel through both historical and contemporary lenses, the collection examines the science, fashion, work, and adventure aspects of flight, and features work from Los Angeles-based artists as well as others around the country.

For instance, photographs of iconic Los Angeles buildings such as Fred Segal, La Brea Psychic, Century Plaza Towers and Valentino by Denver-based photographer Paul Brokering line the seating area in the north lobby.


Known for his aerial photography, L.A.-based artist Jeffrey Milstein documented a series of airports from coast to coast. Haunting and gorgeous, his LAX 4, in the library, shows a terminal at one of the nation’s largest airports.


San Antonio-based artist Patti Ortiz’s rose gold paper airplanes, which resemble a flock of birds, gracefully lead visitors from the lobby towards the restaurant and bar. Commissioned after a piece at Denver International Airport, this is the only other planes work by this artist in the world.


In the coffee bar, the art by L.A.-based Jim Darling features abstracted landscape scenes through the windows of a plane. Spaced similarly to those on an actual jetliner, the works, made through layers of carved wood, imitate the through-a-portal view of a passenger.


The collection even incorporates found historical objects from the golden age of aviation. The resulting art program creates a modern, chic experience that is at once approachable and refined for hotel guests and staff alike.