May 20, 2019

Behind the scenes: Suzi Cordish and Live! Casino & Hotel’s art collection

Suzi Cordish is the woman behind the hotel’s exclusive art. Here, she shares her inspiration behind the 40-plus pieces in the collection.

When you walk into a hotel, and see photographs hanging along the hallways and in your suite, you don’t usually think much of them. Maybe you glance; maybe you think, “Oh, that’s a nice one,” but really, when’s the last time you wanted to take a piece of artwork home with you after your stay ended?

For Suzi Cordish, the wife of real estate mogul David Cordish (owner of Live! Casino & Hotel and head of The Cordish Companies), wants guests at Maryland’s Live! Casino & Hotel to be awestruck by the property’s artwork. After all, it took her three years to commission and curate The Cordish Art Collection: 40-plus works of art displayed throughout the hotel.

The collection itself includes pieces from Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Not Vital, Mei-ling Hom and Baltimore artist Charlie Auhn, as well as many others, and the mediums include videos, mixed media, sculpture, photography and print work. We discussed the work with Suzi to find out more about the process of collecting the pieces. Highlights from our conversation are below.

What inspired you to collect and curate the hotel’s art collection?
I’m an art enthusiast and took on this project because there seemed to be no better way to express the two loves of my life: art and family. Since the Live! Hotel is owned by our family, I also wanted to enhance the property and inspire our guests with mesmerizing artwork they can enjoy. A luxurious property must have a luxurious feel, and I saw art as the best way to reach that goal. I have a deep, personal connection and commitment to this contemporary art collection. It’s my baby.

How did you collect the pieces?
I spent three years working to commission or select each individual contemporary piece in a range of media, going around the world to curate ones that exhibit the Live! theme of fun and spontaneity. The Andy Warhol piece really is a showstopper and we love making it available for our guests to see. Warhol’s iconic dollar signs are perfect for the hotel and casino setting.

What’s your favorite piece in the collection and why?
I am an advocate of supporting local and emerging artists. One piece that is very special to me is Charlie Ahn’s “Void,” which uses lights and mirrors to create an optical illusion. Charlie lives in Baltimore and I’ve known him for about 15 years, since he was a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art.  His work has developed and grown over that time and this piece reflects his maturity as an artist. It is incredibly meaningful for me to support his work.

What is your background in art?
I am not an artist, but I’m an art enthusiast with a passion for art collecting and curating. I currently serve on the board of the Freer|Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC and previously served on the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution, was board president of the Creative Capital Foundation in New York and the chairman of Maryland Art Place in Baltimore.

We also have an art collection in our home, with pieces that reflect our affection for contemporary art and local, as well as up-and-coming artists. It is my greatest pleasure to develop relationships with artists and support their accomplishments and the meaningful work they portray.

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