Daniel Humm.
Photo: Melanie Dunea

Eleven Madison Park Chef Daniel Humm Explains His Connection to a Work by Rita Ackermann

One of the artist's signature chalkboard paintings has pride of place in the dining room of the celebrated New York restaurant

When I first saw the work of Rita Ackermann through Ursula Hauser of Hauser & Wirth, I became utterly fascinated with her chalkboard paintings. Ackermann’s artworks are big, and they remind me of the feeling I have looking at large-scale paintings like Claude Monet’s Water Lilies.

Art plays a crucial role in my life, and it has gradually become a significant part of Eleven Madison Park as well. At one point, we had a site-specific painting of Madison Square Park by Stephen Hannock; the idea was always to bring the park
into the restaurant as much as we could.

Daniel Humm with Rita Ackermann’s 2017 work Coronation and Massacre of Love IV at Eleven Madison Park in New York. Photo: Melanie Dunea

When we renovated in 2017, our goal was to introduce fresh artwork into the space. We carefully selected pieces by artists from my generation whose works were relevant to the restaurant’s aesthetic. I knew I wanted something from Rita, whom I’ve gotten to know as a friend, so I asked her if she would take our Hannock painting and reinterpret the original Madison Square Park scene in her chalkboard style. For Coronation and Massacre of Love IV, she painted over and erased her creation countless times, resulting in a captivating abstract piece.

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Intentional is one of the 11 words that we collaboratively live by at Eleven Madison Park, so it was very intentional that we chose to display this artwork in the main dining room. Not only is it beautiful, but it also evokes a sense of space and speaks to the journey our team has been on with this restaurant.

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2023 Winter Issue. Subscribe to the magazine.

Cover: Daniel Humm.
Photo: Melanie Dunea


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