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Bold Palette

The work of artist Adam Siegel hangs in the city’s most progressive culinary palaces.

TASTEFUL WORK
Artist Adam Siegel, pictured here with his artwork at Roister, has partnered with top chefs including Grant Achatz, Paul Kahan and Jean Joho.

If you’ve had dinner at The Progression or Roister, you’ve dined among the works of Chicago artist Adam Siegel. Siegel’s powerful visuals pair well with the innovative cuisine of chef Grant Achatz, who, with longtime partner Nick Kokonas, is the creative force behind these two adventurous dining zones, as well as Next and, of course, Michelin three-starred Alinea.

“The experience of The Progression [a pop-up in Fulton Market] that Grant created,” explains Siegel, “was about breaking boundaries in terms of texture, palette and color. My art is also about breaking boundaries.” For the cutting-edge place, now shuttered, Siegel created 24 unique works, including two large murals and a series titled Circular Moments.

“The two large works challenge the traditional dining experience and distort perceptions,” says Siegel, allowing “for a sense of wonder; the awakening of one’s palate to new sensibilities provided by chef Grant.” A mural depicting a wolf, for instance, “breaks the perception that we are the predator and transforms us into a world where we are no longer dominant: It makes us part of the food chain instead of being at the top.”

Circular Moments is a collection of large-scale nude photography. Siegel’s intention, he says, was to frame each table with “a photograph looking intimately at the human body in relationship to an old photograph.”

For Roister, the latest concept from the Achatz-Kokonas team, Siegel painted a boar’s head on an ornate platter because “Roister is an English word meaning boisterous party. That’s exactly what this piece represents, whetting the diner’s appetite for what is to come: Grant’s food artistry, wizardry, detail, beauty and effortlessness.”

SIEGEL'S HOTS
Humboldt Park restaurants, Chicago men developing a sense of style, Tequila Cabeza

SIEGEL'S NOTS
Cell phones during dinner, inauthenticity