Yotel New York exhibit: Lost and found as art

Rubber Ducky
Rubber Ducky (credit: Yotel New York)

Hotel lost and found as art…

Every hotel has its own tale to tell about personal belongings left behind by guests, but one hotel has turned it into a new art exhibit. The ultra-modern Yotel New York has unveiled “Mythologies: Artifacts from the Lost & Found,” inspired by the thousands of items left in the cabinlike rooms at the trendy Midtown West property near Times Square.

New York-based artist Zach Hyman drew his inspiration from items accumulated in the hotel’s lost and found over a six-month period and selected 18 of them — including a rubber ducky and standing mirror — in collaboration with hotel staff. To make the exhibit more provocative, the artist fictionalized handwritten “myths” about the history of each object, displaying the narrative beside the items.

“The connection between the viewer and the original owner is the space in which these specific mythologies exist,” Hyman said in a news release announcing the installation. “To be obliged to look at each item without attributing a story to it, or endowing it with some special meaning, would be a denial of creativity and imagination; something we so often do as we become accustomed to the things that exist all around us.”

In the rush of packing up and checking out of a hotel, it’s easy for travelers to leave things behind. The British-based budget hotel chain Travelodge recently released a list of bizarre items left behind at its 500 properties. These included a 5-foot-tall Buddha, a Vera Wang wedding dress and a 6-foot-long wooden cross. Predictably, chargers and mobile phones are among the most common items that make their way to hotel lost and found departments.

Open to the public, the Yotel installation is displayed at Four, an expansive fourth-floor space that includes bars, the East & West restaurant, lounge areas and the largest hotel terrace in the city. It will remain on display through March. Last year the hotel showcased a sculptural work by the same artist in the Green Lounge.

Standing MIrror (credit: Yotel New York)
Standing Mirror (credit: Yotel New York)


New York Yotel

570 10th Ave.

[This article by Irene S. Levine was published in the Chicago Tribune Sunday Travel Section.]

Similar Posts


  1. Ha, this brought some memories Irene. Many, many years ago I was a bellman at one of the hotels here in Reno. Oh the stories to tell. And you hit right on one of them being the items that guests frequently leave behind…often accidentally but sometimes intentionally 🙂 Congrats on this being published in the Tribune! That’s awesome 🙂

  2. What a great story! I won’t be in NYC in March, but my husband is going next week. He loves these kinds of things. Whenever we travel we always get to the know the staff and we always say to them -“You must have lots of stories…” They undoubtedly answer with a smile “Yes, sir we do.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *