To many people who visit the Live! Casino and Hotel, the experience represents an opportunity to simply kick back and enjoy, do some gambling, eat delicious food and catch a live entertainment act.

But Suzi Cordish has spent years working to make such visits more than that. She wants those who visit the Arundel Mills entertainment and gambling complex to have a full cultural experience.

Cincinnati-born artist Jim Dine’s “20 Second Dream of Africa”
Cincinnati-born artist Jim Dine’s “20 Second Dream of Africa” is a hand-painted woodcut. (Provided photo)

That’s what led Cordish, wife of real estate mogul David S. Cordish, who owns the casino and heads the Baltimore-based Cordish Companies, to develop The Cordish Art Collection at the 310-room luxury hotel and conference center in Hanover.

The collection — which ranges from floating mesh cloud sculptures to video art installations — is the result of three years of diligent work and perseverance by Cordish to commission and curate more than 40 works of art that are displayed throughout the hotel.

In her introduction to the collection in a 65-page coffee-table book curated specifically for the hotel, Cordish writes, “Art to me is a way to share the human experience.”

She told Jmore that the collection combines her family’s passion for young, emerging artists while also reflecting their taste, spirit and passion for art in general.

“A casino is a place full of energy, fun, excitement and hope of people wanting to have a good time and win some money,” Cordish said. “Finding that kind of art was a motivator as I built this collection.”

“LOVE-Love,” by Seoul-based artist Byung-Jin Kim
“LOVE-Love,” by Seoul-based artist Byung-Jin Kim, is a sculpture made of steel latticeworks of letters, shapes and logos. (Provided photo)

Cordish said the art world has always been an important component to her life. She majored in art history in college and currently serves on the board of trustees for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C.

She also previously served on the national board of the Smithsonian Institution, as president of the board of Creative Capital Foundation and as chairman of Maryland Art Place.

Among the 40-plus works featured in The Cordish Art Collection are a screen monoprint titled “$(9) : one plate” by the famed pop artist Andy Warhol; an LED lights and mirror sculpture titled “Void” by South Korean-born, Baltimore-based artist Chul-Hyun Ahn; and a mixed-media piece of beaded and sequined garments with fabric and wood titled “Tondo” by Chicago fabric sculptor, dancer and performance artist Nick Cave.

There is also a neon light installation work titled “Yes to All” by Geneva-based artist Sylvie Fleury; a monoprint with collage by acclaimed New York conceptual artist Mel Bochner; and a video art installation of loose flower petals dancing across a black background titled “Botanic 3” by Los Angeles artist Jennifer Steinkamp.

“Today’s contemporary art is so much more than just paintings,” Cordish said. “There’s film and video and neon and wonderfully sophisticated acrylic work as well.”

“Time Machine,” by Nigerian artist Odili Donald Odita
“Time Machine,” by Nigerian artist Odili Donald Odita, is an acrylic latex on laminated panel artwork. (Provided photo)

Cordish said what excites her about the collection is the ability to expose up-and-coming artists to the masses and give them exposure that is unmatched, especially compared to many traditional art venues.

“Artists are thrilled for the opportunity to work with us,” she said. “The visitorship at Live! Casino and Hotel is much larger than at museums and private galleries. Our collections are also in permanent view with signage about the artists, unlike at a museum where the works may be on display for a while before being taken down and placed into storage to make room for the next collections.

“There are just so many more exciting ways art can be seen and displayed in today’s world,” Cordish said.

Along with the collection at the Live! Casino and Hotel in Maryland, Cordish said she is interested in developing similar collections at other company properties, including in locations in Texas and Pennsylvania.

“We will try to work with local artists when possible,” she said. “That’s something we’re very interested in doing moving forward.”

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Ron Snyder is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.

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