Pawel Althamer Wants Your Help Painting the New Museum’s Walls


In February 2014, while the fifth floor of the New Museum hosts an out-of-this-world spaceship installation, its second, third, and fourth floors will be given over to Polish artist Paweł Althamer, who will invite the public to help him realize one of his most ambitious works to date. As part of his first solo show at a U.S. museum, “The Neighbors” (February 12-April 13, 2014), Althamer will re-launch “Draftsmen’s Congress” (pictured), the participatory installation he debuted at the 7th Berlin Biennial in 2012.

The installation will occupy the entire fourth floor of the museum, with its white walls gradually filling up with paintings and drawings made by visitors and invited community groups. Althamer himself will also lead a sculpture workshop in the gallery, during which he and collaborators will create new pieces in situ. In a further blurring of the boundaries between public and institutional space, and the distinction between artist and spectator, Althamer will have musicians performing outside the New Museum building on the Bowery at various times throughout the exhibition, with the music relayed live in the third floor gallery.

Beyond these more interactive works, “The Neighbors” will also mark the U.S. debut of Althamer’s enormous installation from the 2013 Venice Biennale, “Venetians” — which, in this writer’s opinion, may have been the single most disappointing work included in “The Encyclopedic Palace.” Come see it for yourself in February at the New Museum!

— Benjamin Sutton (@bhsutton)

(Image: Paweł Althamer, “Draftsmen’s Congress,” 2012. Exhibition view: Berlin Biennale, 2012. Photo: Artur Żmijewski. Courtesy the artist, Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.)