Masterpiece Menus: Greenpoint Pop-Up Gallery Serves Up Chanterelle Art

Melissa Seley


From the cover of Chanterelle's first menu by Marisol in 1979, to its last by Chuck Close, which was completed after the restaurant was forced to close last July, the cult-favorite SoHo restaurant gathered more than 30 years of artwork by the likes of Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bill Katz (the collection's curator), Allen Ginsberg, Cy Twombly, Mathew Barney, Marcel Marceau, and Kara Walker.

"The idea was to put art in people's hands, in an unpretentious accessible way, for the earthiness and pleasure of holding something in your hand" said Chanterelle co-owner and doyenne Karen Waltuck about an exhibition of the menus running through Tuesday night at denim repair and antiques boutique Kill Devil Hill, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

On the exhibition's unlikely location Waltuck said that when approached by Kill Devil Hill's "young, industrious renaissance-type" proprietors about doing the exhibition, she immediately loved the idea. The eclectic neighborhood, Waltuck said, with its ramshackle warehouses and burgeoning art community, recalled SoHo and Chanterelle's early days when she and her co-owner David's artist friends gathered to eat in their restaurant.

And while Chanterelle's menus compose an impressive retrospective of the past three decades of modern art, Waltuck is quick to point out that the oeuvre grew organically. "It was our lives. It wasn't contrived," she said. "As time passed it all accumulated and grew richer. We were doing something we were passionate about and so were the artists. There was a shared pleasure among us all about what makes life rich and enjoyable."

Click through the photo gallery above for Karen Waltuck's memories of these menus.

"The Menus of Chanterelle" is at Kill Devil Hill, 170 Franklin St., Greenpoint, Brooklyn, (347) 534-3088, until 8 p.m. Tuesday. Select menus are also available for purchase at chanterellenyc.com.

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