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Queen Beatrix 1985

by Andy Warhol, 1928-1987

In America , we have no royalty. But if you’d like to visit with a queen, you can find Queen Beatrix of Netherlands in the midtown “living room” of the citizenM Hotel in Times Square. The hotel was created by Rattan Chadha. Irked by the modern day travel frustrations, he wished to create a luxury hotel experience at affordable prices. Key to that was transforming the hotel lobby from a “place to wait for the rain to stop” to a “third space,” a lobby-cum-living-room, where guests feel included and comfortable. And inspired. It displays a mix of artwork by local artists, as well as pieces from Chadha’s own large private collection.

That is how a screen-print of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands came to be housed in the Times Square location of citizenM home. It originated from Andy Warhol’s 1985 Reigning Queens, a series comprised of portraits of four women who gained their titles by birth rather than marriages. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Ntombi laTfwala of Swaziland are the other subjects in the series.

As you would expect of a Warhol, this interpretation of Queen Beatrix is a departure from standard royal portraiture. It relates more to the world of disco and Studio 54 than to the regal sphere of the Dutch monarch. Reigning Queens, the title of the series, connects the pictures to Warhol’s earlier series of Drag Queens as well as a 1982 disco hit, “It’s Raining Men.”

In so doing, it placed the Queen of the Netherlands in the hierarchy of pop culture, along with the other artists, stars, transvestites and socialites who were Warhol’s subjects. Ultimately it placed her in the lobby-cum-living room of the citizenM hotel – an adventure in egalitarianism no matter how you look at it.

– Carol Cofone