pawel althamer engages visitors with the neighbors at new museum
(above) exhibition view of ‘draftsmen’s congress’
all images courtesy of new museum, new york / photos by benoit pailley



the new museum, new york is presenting the first U.S. exhibition devoted to the work of polish artist paweł althamer, highlighting the complex social, political, and psychological networks in which he operates. a broad artistic practice, shifting from sculptural representation to visual media, takes up three floors of SANAA’s stacked structure, with an interactive art piece at the show’s core.

exhibition view of the ‘venetians’ at new museum



the exhibition includes a new presentation of the artist’s 2012 work, originally presented at the 7th berlin biennial, which designboom previously featured here.‘draftsmen’s congress’ is an immersive and participatory installation that takes over the museum’s fourth floor with a sweeping white canvas that cloaks the gallery’s interior walls and flooring. throughout the course of the show, the blank void will be transformed through the gradual accumulation of drawings, illustrated and painted with provided chalk pieces by visitors to the new museum. activated by the local and international creativity of everyday guests to the space, the interactive piece is at once a testimony to collective ownership and an exciting chance for museum goers to engage in an art practice with the total absence of rules.




predominantly known for figurative sculptures of himself and his family, althamer’s work goes beyond simple portraiture. the exhibition features his most recent body of work created for the 55th venice biennale, which designboom featured herethe ‘venetians’ comprises a haunting group humanoid figures scattered throughout the gallery space — several stand in contemplative poses, others lie on the ground bearing pained expressions. the faces of each have been cast based on various individuals althamer encountered on the streets of venice.




the works are presented alongside althamer’s series of videos, ‘so-called waves and other phenomena of the mind’, produced in collaboration with artist artur żmijewski. these works document althamer as he ingests various drugs, on a transformative journey to explore the depths of his mind.