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Lost art: Yotel displays what guests left behind

Chicago Tribune
Hotel lost and found as art

Every hotel has its own tale to tell about personal belongings left behind by guests, but one hotel has turned it into a new art exhibit. The ultra-modern Yotel New York has unveiled "Mythologies: Artifacts from the Lost & Found," inspired by the thousands of items left in the cabinlike rooms at the trendy Midtown West property near Times Square.

New York-based artist Zach Hyman drew his inspiration from items accumulated in the hotel's lost and found over a six-month period and selected 18 of them — including a rubber ducky and standing mirror — in collaboration with hotel staff. To make the exhibit more provocative, the artist fictionalized handwritten "myths" about the history of each object, displaying the narrative beside the items.

"The connection between the viewer and the original owner is the space in which these specific mythologies exist," Hyman said in a news release announcing the installation. "To be obliged to look at each item without attributing a story to it, or endowing it with some special meaning, would be a denial of creativity and imagination; something we so often do as we become accustomed to the things that exist all around us."

In the rush of packing up and checking out of a hotel, it's easy for travelers to leave things behind. The British-based budget hotel chain Travelodge recently released a list of bizarre items left behind at its 500 properties. These included a 5-foot-tall Buddha, a Vera Wang wedding dress and a 6-foot-long wooden cross. Predictably, chargers and mobile phones are among the most common items that make their way to hotel lost and found departments.

Open to the public, the Yotel installation is displayed at Four, an expansive fourth-floor space that includes bars, the East & West restaurant, lounge areas and the largest hotel terrace in the city. It will remain on display through March. Last year the hotel showcased a sculptural work by the same artist in the Green Lounge. The New York Yotel is at 570 10th Ave. yotelnewyork.com/experience

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