When you set foot onto the second floor of The New Museum, where Pawel Althamer: “The Neighbors” begins, you instantly forget where you are. Greeted by Althamer’s most recent body of work, “Venetians,” an incredible group of life-size sculptures are absolutely arresting. Created for the 55th Venice Biennial, each face has been expressively casted from the faces of various people he encountered in Venice and then brought back to his studio in Portland creating these life-size abstract “duct tape” like bodies.
The third floor is curated with various sculptures including many self representations of the artist. Althamer is very socially conscious and explores the social dynamic of the world around him as well as his place in it. Each sculpture a characterization of the subject it represents, from a nude self-portrait of the artist wearing just glasses, self-portrait as a Billy Goat, and the Observer a brooding figure that sits masked with legs crossed peering on.
On the 4th floor, “Draftsmen’s Congress” originated as an all white space which has been morphed into this diy art collection of paintings and drawings of artists and museum guests. While we were there we saw both a group of artists who were doing a performance piece based on silence and a group of artists who were chanting in abstract vocal arrangements, museum guests including myself all joining, dancing and singing. The ambiance of the room feels free and uplifting, and makes for the perfect ending to the exhibition.
The exhibition runs through April 13th.