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Bronner: Nall’s artwork still a ‘grand’ fit for hotel

Features Editor

Controversy in Fairhope has kept, Nall Hollis’ art from being displayed in the city’s old jail for now, but just up the pike at the Grand Hotel, the artist’s paintings are almost anywhere one would look – in the lobby, in the restaurant and in the guest rooms.

The hotel is undergoing a $40 million facelift, which is being financed by the David Bronner-run Retirement Systems of Alabama and the facelift includes featuring the art work of "Nall" throughout the hotel.

Bronner said he had no reservations at all about showcasing the work of Troy native and internationally recognized artist, Nall in the hotel.

"Nall’s got an unbelievable following around the world," Bronner said. "His ambition is, not only to have an influence in Troy and South Alabama, but to take Alabama art to a whole different level. He wants to expose Alabama artists to the rest of the world and he wants to do it right here in Alabama."

Bronner has bought into Nall’s methodology to showcase Alabama artists and he has chosen the Grand Hotel at Point Clear as a place to do it.

Although some people in Fairhope have found some of Nall’s art work to be highly objectionable and have blocked efforts to allow him to trade works by Alabama artists valued at $350,000

for use of the old jail as an Alabama Art Museum and headquarters for the Alabama Art movement, Bronner has enthusiastically embraced Nall’ work.

"Like all great artists, you either love them or hate them," Bronner said. "While some of Nall’s work might be considered, by you and me, to be controversial, there are those who think it’s the greatest in the world. Art is like beauty. It’s in the eye of the beholder."

Bronner said Nall has unbelievable skills at both ends of the spectrum."

"You might not like what he does at one end of the spectrum, but fall in love with what it does at the other end," Bronner said.

The art work displayed at the Grand Hotel is primarily flowers and sunsets surrounded by mosaic framing.

Bronner said some of Nall’s work is controversial and can’t be displayed in the family-oriented Grand Hotel.

"We are going with the more conservative pieces," he said. "Nall has done some porcelain that is incredible. The dinner service begins with rosebuds and expands throughout the courses until it reaches its final resting place at the end of the meal. He is an outstanding artist with so many creative talents."

Bronner said the works of other Alabama artists are also on display at the Grand Hotel.

Mose T. and other artists who are featured in Nall’s award winning book, "Alabama Art," are also on exhibit in the hotel.

Bronner said Nall’s ambition to showcase the vast amount of talent in Alabama and his reputation allows him that latitude.

Nall has received a huge amount of publicity in recent weeks as Fairhope debates whether or not the town will accept his offer to be the headquarters of the Alabama Art movement.

Bronner doesn’t believe Nall has been adversely affected by the publicity.

"It has probably tickled him," Bronner said. "He’s gotten the attention of a lot of people."’