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Chicago hotels are riding the wave of Warhol-mania

Lori Rackl, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Travel News

CHICAGO -- Andy Warhol predicted everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, but it's doubtful that even the prescient pop artist could have foreseen the ripple effects of the Art Institute's current exhibition.

"Andy Warhol -- From A to B and Back Again" set in motion a flurry of whimsical hotel packages, along with spawning restaurant dishes and drinks in the artist's honor and plastering images of his iconic silkscreens on city buildings large and small.

"Andy Warhol is everywhere in Chicago right now," said Nora Gainer, director of partnerships and tourism at the Art Institute, where the ambitious retrospective is on display through Jan. 26. "The ubiquity of his presence throughout the city, in mediums from murals to cocktails, speaks to the unparalleled appeal of his work."

More than a dozen hotels have gotten in on the act, with some offering Warhol-inspired stays that transcend the usual room-and-a-pair-of-exhibit-tickets bundle. One property even created a Warhol pop-up suite, where the campy props include painting supplies, a wig of unruly silver hair and a bowl of bananas.

"This exhibition has sparked the imaginations of our partners in a way that parallels the civic moment we had during the Van Gogh exhibition in 2016," Gainer said. "Both artists connect to audiences in a way that transcends generations."

Here's a look at how some Chicago hotels are riding the wave of Warhol-mania.


No lodging in the city has leaned in to the Warhol exhibit quite like Acme Hotel Co., which transformed one of its 130 rooms at its River North address into a playful shrine to the artist.

Starting at $350 a night and bookable through the exhibit's run, the pop-up suite is tricked out with Warhol imagery, from throw pillows and prints of his instantly recognizable work to cardboard masks of the artist and a wig mimicking his hallmark hairstyle.

Pyramids of Campbell's tomato soup cans and tiny Brillo boxes -- some of the mundane commercial products Warhol turned into art -- are scattered around the ready-for-Instagram space. Warhol's quote about 15 minutes of fame is scrawled on the bathroom mirror, next to a fat pair of red lips. (The lips, a favorite backdrop for Acme guests' selfies, are permanent.)

On the retro record player, suite guests can play the Velvet Underground's 1967 debut album, the one with the Warhol banana on it, or pick up a paintbrush and let their creative juices flow on an easel in the corner.


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