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  • Writer's pictureBecky Fifield

Road Trip: Bad Art in Motels


On my 2005 Lincoln Highway trip, I was careful to photograph the art hanging in each of my motel rooms. Mrs. G and I tried to get the true flavor of the road by staying in locally owned motor courts. In Geneva, IL, an Indian family ran a trucker motel from the 1960s, complete with blue vinyl furniture in the office. A Vietnam Vet owned the Fort Wayne, IN motel where we paid $36  for our room. The mattresses had plastic covers and the traffic upstairs continued all night. We splurged $75 the next night for a Best Western in Wooster, OH to recover. And so forth.


Art from a $36/night motel in Ft Wayne, IN. The picture is blurry because I had to get out of there.


Motel operator horror vacui must compel the profession to fill that spot above the bed. There is always something in that spot, part of the formula in creating the home away from home. I assume it’s part of the hotelier creed, and that there is a tabbed section in their catalogs  with preframed prints to slap on the walls. Instant ambiance.

A sampling  of the mass-produced floral and landscape art meant to evoke a vague sense of place, found in motels of the Midwest.


$79/night gets you some partridge. Wooster OH Best Western, 2005.


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