Jane Benson  

Imitation Day, 2004
Foil garlands, spray paint, 20’ x 25’ x 2.2’.

Imitation Day was commissioned by Jamaica Flux, a Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning project. The huge ceiling installation was temporarily installed in a White Castle restaurant in the heart of Jamaica, Queens.

An overwhelming number of fast food restaurants, stores and malls embrace the modern tradition of decorating with artificial foliage. In Jamaica, Queens, White Castle, McDonalds and the 165th Street Mall, to mention a few, soften starkly functional architecture and calm their patrons sense with fake plants. Imitation Day embraces his affinity for artificial intervention addressing the role of decoration and deception in contemporary consumer culture. The installation reinvents the celebratory garland and places this alternative form of fake foliage at the White Castle Restaurant on Jamaica Avenue. By covering the garland’s normally flashy foil colors with the matte colors found in camouflage – drab greens, deep browns and black – Imitation Day morphs the meaning of he garland and subverts its decorative function, thereby replacing the familiar context of celebration with a spectacular canopy of deception.