Ben Schumacher’s “The China Chalet Group” at Bortolami Gallery, New York | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Ben Schumacher’s “The China Chalet Group” at Bortolami Gallery, New York

Ben Schumacher’s “The China Chalet Group” at Bortolami Gallery, New York
“The China Chalet Group” by Ben Schumacher at Bortolami Gallery, New York
(Courtesy of Ben Schumacher at Bortolami Gallery, New York)

“The China Chalet Group” is Ben Schumacher’s third solo exhibition with Bortolami, New York. In the exhibition, the Canadian artist Ben Schumacher shows a replication of the famous Chinese banquet hall of the same name, located near the New York Stock Exchange, which was a must-go after the workplace for the New Yorkers in the late 2000s. The hall was very attractive to people belonging to different social strata and a hub for the celebrities as well. Surprise visits from pop stars make the place still attractive to people.  

“Schumacher’s replica of China Chalet, made from memory at approximately 3/4 scale, falls somewhere between earnest tribute and satire. Booths, audio equipment and tables are constructed with little more than anodized aluminum, screws, and faux upholstery. They lack any utility as furniture or as a model, a twist on Schumacher’s training and early career as an architect. But each piece of ‘furniture’ also displays its own miniature model, embedded with small sculptures and dioramas which serve as a constellational map of Schumacher’s biography and past projects. These objects range from a toy theater made with dollhouse furniture to a plush model of a church in Montreal that Schumacher had curated in the show. An aluminum ‘dance floor’ even doubles as replica of a typical NYC rooftop,” says the gallery.

The exhibition includes Schumacher’s most recent works and paintings that are included in the faux restaurant environment. These paintings are created combining oil paint with printed collages of exhibition announcements as well as record releases. Each of these works has the features where figuration fades into printed block lettering and graphic design while underneath that the typography is being stretched over the brushstrokes.

Schumacher has created an exact replication of the interior of the banquet hall in a ratio of 3:4 mostly from his memory. His attempt may be seen as tribute as well as satire. The walls are decorated with paintings by the artist, which are combinations of oil paints with collages and graphics. There are booths and tables made of aluminium and artificial upholstery. There is an aluminium dance floor that is the replica of a New York City rooftop.  

“The China Chalet Group” will be on show through August 10, 2018.

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