This Dystopian Art Show Lets You Snoop Around a Strangers Hotel Room in Exchange For Your DNA
Exhibition Review
May 20, 2018
Moses Hubbard

In The Novalis Hotel — a commission by the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, to coincide with the artist’s current solo exhibition First Person Plural — Leeson revisits one of her early site-specific installations, The Dante Hotel (1972-3). After being removed from a mainstream gallery exhibition for including work that featured a recording device, she rented a room in a run-down North Beach hotel, The Dante, and designed it as if it were occupied by a woman named Roberta Breitmore, one of several alter egos Leeson has developed throughout her career. Visitors would get a key to Roberta’s room, which they could visit and find clues about her life — why she was there, what she hoped to do and so on. The character staying in the Novalis is an older woman named Roberta Lester… When we arrive at the hotel, we are told that, if we want to, we can leave a sample of our DNA before going into the room…