Reno’s Morris Hotel is being turned into a Burner hotel – quite literally. They now answer the phone as “Morris Burner Hotel”, and the web site is morrisburnerhotel.com. From the Reno Gazette-Journal:
The neon purple sign glows “Burner” over the front entrance to the 85-year-old four-story, red-brick historic Morris Burner Hotel on Fourth Street.
The building, purchased last July by brothers Don and Jim “Jungle Jim” Gibson, has since undergone renovations removing its aged, yellow layers and turning it into the beginnings of a creative hub for Burning Man participants, artists and the community.
Next week, it will open its door in a soft-grand opening with artist group NadaDada for its second annual, three-day spring Dada art and music event, “NADAgras.” The event will include artwork, tours of the Morris, food, live music and performance art displays.
We’ve told you tales before of NadaDada and their motel shows.
“’NADAgras’ is a match made in heaven for us,” Gibson said. “NadaDada is one of my favorite events — I have wandered around for one or two days every year, visited with the artists; it’s so fun to see all the crazy art. Doing it here is an honor.”
During “NADAgras” the hotel’s third floor rooms will be filled with Nada artists and their work. He said hosting a grand opening during the event also offers exposure to both the hotel and Nada that the community may not have experienced before.
“The art part (at the Morris) has turned into such an important piece of the puzzle,” Gibson said. ”It’s not only how we’re decorating the place, but we have an art proposal and program that we put together that defines how we deal with the art in the hotel and in the community, and relationships with other art galleries and groups.”
On nearly a half an acre of land and with more than 30 rooms, the Morris is home to over a dozen residents, a series of themed art rooms, such as the Goddess of Creation room and the Sparkle Pony room, and the alternative media source, LoadedTV, featuring “Studio M” streaming interviews and segments about the Burning Man and art community.
“I didn’t go out intentionally looking to buy something like this — it kind of happened and the rest, as they say, is history,” Gibson said. “What has happened here is nothing short of amazing and it’s turning into what could be an incredibly-nice boutique hotel.”
Gibson said as the first phase of renovations comes together, there are future plans to create a coffee shop, an organic food restaurant and an aquaponics greenhouse and outdoor seating area in the backyard “playa” space.
He said he would also like to use the 18-foot high “M” from the 2009 Burning Man art installation piece, “MOM” created by California artist Laura Kimpton, as an entrance gate on Valley Road behind neighboring businesses Abby’s HWY 40 and Studio on 4th.
“We’re on the books as a hotel, but the reality is that we’re an art and a community space,” Gibson said. “It’s something for people who want to understand Burning Man and it’s for the greater Burning Man community around the world. When they come to Reno, they can stay here and they immediately get to know the burner community. That’s always been a real driver for doing this.”
In room 223, “NADAgras” coordinator and performing artist James Dilworth will present a silent, interactive performing art piece, “Room of Silence.”
He said holding the event at the Morris is ideal because there is the overlap between Nada and burners where anything can happen and people can come out of their normal world and experience something they’ve never experienced before.
The Nada movement began in Reno four years ago with its “Dada Motel” exhibit featuring artists residing and exhibiting in the El Cortez Hotel on West Second Street for a weekend. The Nada artists’ work challenges conventional art politics and portrays a variety of more eccentric themes.
“There’s an artistic revival going on in Reno, and there’s a lot of artistic things happening here,” Dillworth said. “I think the community at large should be aware of this. It’s something to experience, appreciate and be a part of it. It’s not just for artists; it’s for everyone and they need to participate.”
Last year’s first off-shoot of the main Nada event started in midtown with “NADAgras” in the Best Bet Motel. Dilworth said this year’s event is more extensive and features a wide-variety of activities to participate in.
“I think there is going to be a lot more buzz about NadaDada,” Dilworth said. “With this event, we’re testing the waters to expand the Nada movement. It isn’t just gallery shows; if you have an idea with Nada, try it out — get a room, put it up and see how it works.”
Displaying in the Oxbow Press group show, “Naughty, Taboo and Just Plain Wrong,” British artist Carole Anne Ricketts joined Nada in the summer of 2010. She said the magic of Nada is allowing the artist the opportunity to speak directly to the public in their own words.
“Nada is where the truth can be told or the outrageous can be put on display,” Ricketts said. “It’s not the words of a hanging committee or a curator looking for commercially viable items, then the show going up after the subject has lost its current cultural relevance.”
For this year’s “NADAgras” event, Ricketts along with the help of artist and musician Jill Marlene, created the Goddess room she hopes will inspire creativity in those that stay in it.
“It (”NADAgras”) is a perfect fit for the Morris Burner Hotel, where the show takes on a mini ephemeral art community, much like that of Burning Man on a way different scale,” Ricketts said. “Although Nada is non-exclusive, so tickets for entry have no place here. Within the rooms of the Morris, the exhibitions take on a level of intimacy, while the corridors, indoor spaces and outdoor area, provide an almost carnival banality with the possibilities of spontaneous entertainments of burner style revelry.”
Sounds great, I wanna go! If anyone in Reno could take a picture of the neon purple Burner sign for us, we’d be much obliged.
NADAgras starts March 7
‘NADAGRAS’ AT THE MORRIS BURNER HOTEL
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, March 7; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, March 8; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9
WHERE: 400 E. Fourth St.