ARTS & CULTURE
03/20/2014 12:22 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2014

This New York Museum Wants You To Make Art, Not Just Stare At It

A visit to a museum is most often characterized by a significant amount of visual observation, a good dose of walking at a leisurely pace down white-washed walls and an extended time period filled with silence or something close to it. However, a patron walking into New York City's New Museum this month would be hard pressed to experience any of the above scenarios. Instead, the onlooker would be greeted by an explosion of color, a buzz of communication and an urge to slather paint all over the high ceilings of the institution's fourth floor.

Thankfully, that's the idea.

pawel

Polish artist Pawel Althamer has taken over the New Musuem, bringing -- among other things, including figurative sculptures and performative videos -- a massive blank canvas just screaming for a new paint job. In "Draftsmen’s Congress," Althamer actually invites passersby to draw, paint and splatter designs all over his empty slate, transforming the drab walls of an entire floor into a communal masterpiece. All one needs to do is pick up a tool and get to work. And Voila! You've just collaborated with a celebrated contemporary artist.

The title of the exhibition, "The Neighbors," speaks to the sense of engagement that permeates the show. From children to adults, tourists to NYC community organizers, the piece is meant to engage anyone and everyone in a collective drive to create -- together. Art doesn't have to exist inside rigid frames, the exhibition points out, it can exist in the mere act of creative cooperation.

Check out the time lapse video above to see the magic that happened already (you have until April 14 to leave your own mark). Meanwhile, Althamer has organized a coat drive for the Bowery Mission, an organization situated not far from the Manhattan art museum. So, if you decide to stop by, make sure to bring new or gently used men's coats to donate to the initiative.

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