You Can Buy Andy Warhol’s Door from the Chelsea Hotel at This Upcoming Auction
Thanks to the curb-picking of former tenant Jim Georgiou, fifty famous doors are being sold on April 12th.
A door from the Chelsea Hotel, occupant unknown. Image courtesy of Guernsey's.
The Chelsea Hotel—you know, where O. Henry checked in under pseudonyms to dodge creditors, Jack Kerouac wrote part of On the Road, Arthur Miller retreated after his divorce with Marilyn Monroe, Edie Sedgwick set her room on fire, and Nancy Spungen was stabbed to death in the room she shared with Sid Vicious—has been under renovation since 2011, closed to new guests and renters. It’s still occupied by a handful of rent-stabilized tenants, but its future is uncertain: the owners who bought the hotel in 2016 are planning a renovation that includes a spa, gym, greenhouse and market-rate apartments, but as of this February, there were zero rainfall showers and one five-floor leak.
But until the 2019 reopening (pushed back from 2017, pushed back from 2012), you can capture a bit of the hotel’s grimy, magical aura by purchasing a door to the room of one of the Chelsea’s famous residents, including Madonna, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Joni Mitchell, Bob Marley, Quentin Crisp, Humphrey Bogart, Jack Kerouac, W.E.B. Du Bois, Mark Twain, and Jon Bon Jovi. (This is also the guest list of an extremely amazing or extremely bad dinner party.) They’ll be sold at auction on April 12th by Guernsey’s, after a week on display at New York’s Ricco/Maresca Gallery, an outsider art space, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit City Harvest.
The doors were recovered by Jim Georgiou, a long-term resident of the hotel who was evicted in 2011, after falling behind on rent, and became homeless. He learned from chatting with construction workers carrying out the renovations that the doors were going to be discarded, and began recovering them from the curb. Researchers were able to trace roughly half of the doors that Georgiou salvaged to a famous former occupant, which revealed some delightful convergences; for example, two notable Dylans—Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan—stayed in the same room, about a decade apart.
The doors don’t appear to be in great condition, but to be fair, neither was the Chelsea Hotel when Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe hung out there. See photos below, and check out the exhibition at Ricco/Maresca Gallery beginning April 5th.