Regular readers will know how much we’ve enjoyed the varying installations that have occupied a Zurich art gallery cum bed and breakfast known as The Proposal. Presenting conceptual art alongside a gallery-based bedroom and a ‘room’ in the back of a 1977 Peugeot J7 bus; the guys behind this unique proposition have been busting conventions with gay abandon.
Their latest Proposal has just been unveiled, so we decided to catch up with the founders to see how things have been going since we first covered them back in December…
As you know, we’ve been big fans since your first proposal back in November – how’s everything going in general?
In general everything is going great! We have sucsessfully realised four out of six Proposals, and are making plans for Season No.2.
The key aspect is for the proposals to come to some kind of fruition – any promising signs so far? We’d love to see a giant Manuel Uribe squeezed into Grand Central Station.
The discussions about the concept and the exhbitions with the diversity of our guests is inspiring. Many of our guests come form a cultural sector, and are used to presenting proposals in everday life. This ensures they understand our concept right from the start, and leads to great discussions and new possibilites to go further with a Proposal.
For example; we’ve been invited to install a guest night in a Zurich office space in May.
We’d also love to see Manuel stuck in the Grand Central… we are looking for a buyer of Proposal No.1 to make this happen, if not, we are thinking about starting a project for it on Kickstarter, the US crowdfunding site. The decision if it will happen is then up to the people that want to support the project to bring the “fat man” to NYC.
Has the B&B been busy with guests – what has their reception been like?
Yes, we’ve been really busy over the past weeks. In March we had about 70% occupancy rate. We are ranked No.1 on TripAdvisor in the Pensions/B&B section in Zurich. And after only 3 months!
Many guests see the great reviews and contact us directly. Also we’re part of Unusual and Unique Hotels of the World.
Has anyone ‘non-arty’ come to stay yet and left converted by the exhibitions?
Our guests are very diverse. We have many architects, designers, photographers – but also business guests and tourists. From age 20 to 70. And yes I must admit we’ve “converted” a few of them.
It’s fascinating to see how guests check-in and are confronted with the exhibition. After a good night’s sleep they have new perspectives or ideas about the exhibition. We’ve had many great conversations with our guests about ideas, proposals, art and the necessity of an original.
How is the membership aspect working – are you having repeat guests, are the events growing in size/attendance?
At the moment we have over 200 members in our association. Every hotel guest automatically becomes a member so we really bind guests to The Proposal. Our events are growing constantly, we are organising and planing events such as summer brunches in our courtyard, open-air movie nights, a vintage clothes sale and more.
The idea remains a playground for us to test new ideas/proposals. Zurich has over 150 art galleries, but we offer an experience that nobody else does.
Can you tell us about the 4th proposal?
The installation is changing daily due to the exhibition’s centerpiece – a blossoming ornamental apple tree, a so-called “Malus Evereste”. The springtime idyll however deceives: the tree is nourished by infusions, the fluttering butterflies hatch in suspended “hatch tents”. What becomes obvious here is often ignored in daily life: we are creating artificial nature.
What’s in store for the proposal after number 6 – any plans to take the works elsewhere, internationally perhaps?
Thanks for asking! Right know we are planing a retrospective of all six Proposals (Season No 1) this will be a combination of our past exhibitions, so guests of the B&B can see and experience what they have missed. This retrospective is planned for 3 months. During this time we will be planning Season No.2 (Proposal 7-12).
First we have to secure the financial situation – we are looking for sponsors and support by national and international foundations. We are also opening our gallery to external artists that want to present a Proposal. The idea is that an artist in residence will be staying with us for a month or so – and then present their work. During this time the B&B will still be open for guests, and the revenue of the B&B should finance the stay of the artist (so, a closed art-funding circle).
And yes! We would love to take the project elsewhere, internationally would be fantastic! We have some connections in Asia and the US – initially it will be for just one Proposal. We are definitely looking at expanding the idea and opening a new satellite of The Proposal, we are constantly looking for new rooms and concepts to play with – and if we could create an all-year blossoming spring installation in the middle of Siberia, that would be great… maybe this time with a tree hung upside down!