China Chalet Menu Alteration Project

Curated by Xirin and Maika Pollack

A selection of artist-altered menus at China Chalet (Broadway)

May 2015

China Chalet restaurant serves Chinese food at 47 Broadway, in lower Manhattan. Host to frequent exhibition afterparties and alternative community gatherings since it opened in 1975, it is a site of non-hegemonic community formation and information transfer. In this exhibition, we focus on the restaurant’s menu—a direct marketing of the ostensible commodities offered by the business. The language of a menu is the means by which a customer communicates with the business. By asking a number of artists to alter the visual presentation of the restaurant menu, we put emphasis on the menu as both an interlocutor and a commodity. A new form of circulation emerges; the work of an artist is put in a conduit of capital. The menu becomes a doubled medium of exchange, in an exhibition held outside the ordinary realm of the art market. The artists participating in the exhibition are in dialogue with the use of advertising and imagery as a way to subvert, question, or examine capital formation. The exhibition consists of altered menus by the artists silently put in circulation with the regular China Chalet menus. The works are seen—or not seen—democratically by customers. There is no signage or other marker of the show.

Participating Artists

Joel Sternfeld
Michael Wang
Margaret Lee
Michele Abeles
Philip Vanderhyden
Lucas Blalock