21c Museum Hotel is the latest Durham business to step into the House Bill 2 debate, with a statement and new artist-designed restroom signs that confront the state law.
“21c Museum Hotel was conceived as a space where contemporary art – sometimes whimsical, sometimes inspiring, often challenging – can be transformative; a venue for exploring what is relevant today through different lenses,” the company said in a statement released Friday.
The statement continues:
“We cherish artists’ ability to lend unique and powerful voice to distinct perspectives on the most important issues of our time. We do not strive for unanimous acceptance of the works, but we hope the experience will facilitate conversation.
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“Unfettered expression is the heart of our mission. Individuality is the cornerstone of our culture.
“It is in the spirit of these values, and with commitment to our community, our guests, our employees, and the artists whose work we display, that we share this statement:
“It is demoralizing that sanctioned discrimination could be a cause contemplated, let alone endorsed, by public officials elected to represent a diverse and complete constituency.
“We are proud that the vibrant city of Durham is home to 21c Museum Hotel, and we humbly stand with fellow North Carolinians who petition the repeal of House Bill 2.”
New restroom signs
The company also announced it is installing new restroom signs, designed by artist Peregrine Honig. Each sign is a work of art, numbered and signed by the artist, titled “We Don’t Care.”
“The title refers to the position of ‘all are welcome’ or we don’t care where you go to the bathroom,” the company says on its website. “The installation gives the community another way to engage in conversation around this important issue. Thought-provoking contemporary art fosters dialogue and discovery.”
In a separate statment, Honig said large changes take small steps.
“I was reading trans and non-binary responses (to the bills) on social media and had the thought that there is something precious and intelligent about not caring,” Honig writes. “That eventually we will experience a generation of people who don’t care about where people go to the bathroom. I would like the sign to become standard until we simply remove gender from bathrooms completely.”
This isn’t the first time 21c Museum Hotel has waded into bathroom art.
If you go to use a mezzanine-floor restroom at the hotel, which opened last year in the former Hill Building downtown, you’re in for a surprise: The wall is transparent, exposing the facilities.
Step inside and lock the door, though, and the glass wall turns an opaque white – ensuring perfect privacy..