2-New Museum IIMuseum patrons working on the Draftsmen’s Congress

Upon entering the Pawel Althamer: The Neighbors exhibit at the New Museum a mural of paint surrounds you as artists work. They are clad in once white smocks, now vibrant messes of color. But these are no ordinary artists, as hints are lain by the inviting paint cans with brushes spewed in the center. The artists are museum patrons, with the museum visitors applying layer upon layer of paint forming a vast vibrant mural of seamless chaotic color. A vast array of small designs–many half covered–are discernible, from targets to faces to lettering. “FOOL” is written boldly across the top of a chair, while “OLLIE” adorns a wall.

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Chair painted at Draftsmen’s Congress with “FOOL”

The work is that of Pawel Althamer, a Polish artist famed for human scale sculptures, mostly of various people in his life. He has never had a solo show  in the United States–until now. The exhibition is centered around two floors and a single day (April 18th) presentation of sculptures produced by Althamer and collaborators.The fourth floor of the museum is entitled Draftsmen’s Congress, and was shown in the 2012 Berlin Biennial. The work, as described above, begins with a white canvas and ends in an utter mess of color, all painted by museum patrons. In addition, several of his life-size sculptures and videos are displayed on the museum’s second floor.

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Sculpture produced by Althamer and collaborators

In addition, sixteen sculptures of Althamer and collaborators are housed at the storefront adjacent to the New Museum. These sculptures were produced over the duration of the exhibition and are made of a variety materials. Several are influenced by African and other cultures, and made of wood, metal and plastic. The wall is painted as well, in a similar fashion to the walls of the Draftsmen’s Congress.

The interactive nature of these works and inclusion of the patron in the artistic process are clear signs of Althamer’s innovative nature. His life-size sculptures allow for a certain intimacy–couple with a clear interaction–between viewer and art. His works provide a unique experience, allowing you to pick up a brush and create the art. Even further, from April 23rd to the 27th, Althamer will be dissembling the works and giving them for free to those in attendance. Be sure to check out the work and receive a piece of this innovative work.

1-New Museum IDraftsmen’s Congress 

4-New Museum IIIDraftsmen’s Congress 

5-New Museum IVDraftsmen’s Congress 

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Sculptures produced by Althamer and collaborators

6-New Museum V“BE BOLD,” the Untapped Cities addition to the wall at Draftsmen’s Congress!

7-New Museum VIA portion of the floor at Draftsmen’s Congress 

Be sure to check out our write-up on an older New Museum exhibition,when a floor was transformed into a Spaceship Module! Also be sure to see the preparations underway in Greenpoint for a major street art show!

Get in touch with the author @spencercnyc