When animators in Burbank get hungry, there’s Moore’s Deli, which has a back room decorated by animation artists, many from the nearby constellation of feature and TV animation studios. Owner Robert Moore, a former executive chef at Dodger Stadium, began allowing artists to draw on the walls a few years ago, and now these impromptu murals are an integral part of the room’s atmosphere. Characters from Futurama, Kung Fu Panda, Phineas and Ferb, Adventure Time, and, of course, Spongebob, bring life to what would otherwise be a pretty banal space. Some characters are just sketched, others carefully detailed; Moore keeps Sharpies on hand for when inspiration strikes his patrons. You don’t usually go to a deli for the art, but this is an exception.

Now say you went to New York City, and you wish for an opportunity to emulate, or at least echo, the doodles which caught hold at Moore’s Deli. Starting in February, the New Museum will present works by Polish artist Pawel Althamer, Althamer’s first solo show in a US museum. The show, which runs until April 20, includes a new iteration of his “Draftsmen’s Congress” (2012), in which the bare white walls of the museum’s fourth floor gallery will be gradually covered by drawings and paintings made by museum visitors and some community organizations. You can see and read about the 2012 Berlin version of “Draftsmen’s Congress” here.

Collaboration is at the heart of Althamer’s work. His first large-scale work in NYC took place as part of Performa 13, the performance art festival held last November. In it Althamer and a group of artists and his two sons (one an artist, the other a chef) staged a variety of collaborative works at Biba, a bar and restaurant in Brooklyn. They also built an outdoor sculpture, Queen Mother of Reality, out of steel and scrap materials.

So, animation artists and enthusiasts, there are walls waiting for you to draw on, in a venue that has already shown animation-influenced art like the Mickey Mouse pieces of Llyn Foulkes. The confluence of the fine art and animation art worlds is all too rare. Are you game?

(Moore’s deli image via The Danger Sandwich; “Draftsman’s Congress” photos by Marta Gornicka)

Stephen Persing

STEPHEN PERSING is a writer, art critic and blogger and (platonic) cartoon lover based in Connecticut. His writing has appeared in Art in America and the Hartford Courant, as well as online at McSweeney’s and Big Red & Shiny. His art blog and humor blog are updated more or less regularly. He was part of the team that executed Sol LeWitt’s "Wall Drawing #1131, Whirls and Twirls," at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. For extreme thrills he has been known to watch Van Beuren cartoons and view Conceptual art in the same day.