21c Museum Hotel Chicago names Barker creative director

21c Museum Hotel Chicago has named internationally renowned photographer and entrepreneur Nigel Barker as its new creative director. In his new role, Barker will develop and oversee several experience-based event programming and design initiatives for the Chicago hotel.

“Nigel Barker’s extraordinary career achievements and vision for our Chicago property make him the perfect addition to 21c Museum Hotel Chicago,” said 21c Museum Hotel Chicago General Manager Randall Williams. “We look forward to working closely with Nigel to further elevate the guest experience at 21c Chicago and establish the hotel as a mainstay of Chicago’s residents and tourists alike.”

Barker assumes his role as creative director at 21c Museum Hotel Chicago as the hotel prepares to launch its new on-site exhibition, “Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art,” on March 21. The multi-media exhibition illuminates the intersection of celebrity, commerce, technology and the media, and will feature notable works by Nick Cave, Brendan Fernandes, Titus Kaphar, Hank Willis Thomas and Kehinde Wiley, among others. Spanning all 10,000+ sq. ft. of 21c Museum Hotel Chicago’s gallery space, Pop Stars! features more than 90 works of art by 55 artists from around the world.

“Chicago has always been one of my favorite cities because of the creative and industrious nature of its people. It’s shown in everything from the city’s architecture and public art to its restaurant scene—21c Chicago embodies all of this,” said Barker. “I am so excited to bring new experiences and activities to 21c Chicago and it couldn’t
be more apropos than to kick things off than with the Pop Stars! exhibition.”

Barker opened his New York studio in 1996. He served 17 seasons as photographer and judge on the hit TV show, America’s Next Top Model, which airs in more than 140 countries, and hosted Oxygen Network’s modeling competition series, The Face, starring alongside Naomi Campbell. Barker also created the VH1 Reality show The Shot. His latest hit show, Top Photographer, premiered to rave reviews and a second season is in the works.

Barker’s presence in the fashion and entertainment industry has resulted in an array of exciting projects including the creation of a furniture line, skateboard collection, three fragrances and many more innovative projects.

Barker has directed and produced films, documentaries and commercials for Hollywood clients and international charitable organizations. He was awarded the “Film Heals” Award for Humanitarianism at the 6th Annual Manhattan Film Festival for Dreams Are Not Forgotten. Using the power of photography and motion pictures, Barker has been able to spread his humanitarian message to vast audiences through films, PSAs and traveling exhibitions.