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Room 28, by Joel Ross

The James hotel has this great installation piece made of suitcases packed with the insides of a roadside motel room.


Joel Ross (American b. 1966, lives Chicago)

Room 28, 1997


In a roadside motel somewhere between Texas and Chicago the artist, Joel Ross, checked in under a false name and paid for 1 night's stay in cash in advance. He then quietly carried in 50 vintage suitcases (2 by 2 so as not to be suspicious) and systematically dismantled the entire motel room (barring the plumbing) with hand tools (and one assistant) leaving the room in the same 2 by 2 manner carrying the suitcases now packed with the contents of the room from bedsprings to light bulbs. The resulting sculpture exists as a somewhat minimalist cube with the top of some suitcases open to reveal what is inside - the installation is accompanied by a photo of the actual motel room exterior and typed statement by the artist. The performative nature in the making of this installation is typical of Joel Ross' work and is layered by a character-driven aspect, which is also a recurring theme. This character is often based on an archetypal wayward soul with good intentions - here a lovelorn man with the misguided intent to reclaim the site of some relationship altering event in order to win back his lost love.

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Taken on October 19, 2008