For this interview Enno Schramm picked up the conversation with Patrick Mohundro, the director of the P.A.D. gallery space in New York. During VARIOUS OTHERS 2021, the space is being hosted by GALERIE CHRISTINE MAYER.

ES: Hello, Patrick. How would you introduce yourself to our audience?

PM: My name is Patrick Mohundro and I am the director of P.A.D., Project Art Distribution. We are a pop–up art exhibition space in the historic SOHO District in New York City. Our goal is to platform small and editioned works by artists who are interested in exploring new ways of exhibiting. Our project reflects the bustling economy of artists making, selling, and promoting their artworks on the street year-round, weather permitting of course, as we saw in Munich last Friday and Saturday.

ES: So, what can we experience artistically in the context of your partnership with GALERIE CHRISTINE MAYER?

PM: We brought over 22 artists to GALERIE CHRISTINE MAYER. The exhibition consists of 25 pieces, so just over 22. Each artist was given a Statue of Liberty souvenir that they were asked to reimagine as their work of art. Pieces vary in terms of conceptual approaches. For instance, James Chrzan exhibits keys and photographs from a safe deposit box in Ridgewood, Queens, that house the souvenir where he is safeguarding it. Alex Schmidt aka Body Confidence exhibits business cards from a photograph taken where she modeled for a life-drawing class posing with the Statue of Liberty. And there are more classical sculptures, for example alterations, casts, or impressions of the souvenir. I think the artist Ilana Harris-Babou who was in last year’s Whitney biennial did this. We also have a really nice piece by Chang Sujung where she made miniature clothing and a bag for the Lady Liberty out of a used I Love New York T-shirt.

ES: That sounds like a manifold range of works. Is there something thematic that could summarize the approaches or are they too diverse?

PM: I’m not exactly sure about a precise theme. Kristina Schmidt, the artist who is exhibiting right now at GALERIE CHRISTINE MAYER, invited me into the project. We talked a lot about the market and luxury in New York and in Munich and I guess that’s why the show is called Monopoly. There is something highly important about P.A.D.’s relationship to real estate and art—rent is too damn high. The theme might just be about artists having fun. We often play with the idea of what art is. Specifically, P.A.D. focuses on how it’s shown and distributed. For instance, I don’t take a cut of the sales. It’s about affordability and access to contemporary art as opposed to locking it away in some sort of ivory tower. For the show in Munich, P.A.D. invited artists to work in their own style on this very important cultural object. How each P.A.D. show manifests depends on the input of the artist’s network. In this sense, P.A.D. is sort of holding space for ideas of our peers. It is all about friendship and community. The souvenir itself, the Statue of Liberty, is often given as a gift to friends and family. Maybe the artwork could be an invitation to extend our own community at P.A.D. and the artist's sense of community to an international audience by inviting friendship and kinship globally. And perhaps the collectors of the works might re-gift them, continuing to spread this love.

ES: Liberty itself is a rather abstract yet strong idea. Could you elaborate on that in respect to the work being shown?

PM: You will see different versions of liberty in the show. The exhibition as a whole kind of exists as a group of all these classic almost modernist examples of how to make a sculpture from representation—as in Andy Ralph’s piece where he made his own Statue of Liberty from a beer bottle, a tank top shirt, and a plant. His three-year-old son had stolen his Lady Liberty and hid it somewhere in the house, so we had to improvise. Then there are other examples of destroying Lady Liberty and putting her back together. There is also the classic wrapping of the sculpture where the artist covers it in some sort of fabric or, as in Topher Lineberry’s sculpture, in rubber bands. The piece is called Rubberbandwidth and the statue kind of acts as this prisoner to rubber bands, to their capacity, their own band width. Over time Lady Liberty will slowly escape from the piece because, of course, the elastic in the rubber bands breaks and slowly reveals the statue underneath.

Next, there are more feminist takes on the Statue of Liberty where one artist, Adams Puryear, has made Lady Liberty into a knife. In this way, she is the holder of her own destiny. She can slash away any sort of repression. Amra Causevic has converted Lady Liberty into a warrior figure, adding a sword in place of her flame and chipping away or carving away at the statue itself to give her legs.

ES: The idea of liberty becomes a transformative process?

PM: Transformation is certainly one of the things that’s going on. We are seeing different versions of liberty, subjective modes of liberty, how we experience freedom and express freedom in this time. We are all sort of locked up at the moment and are finding different ways to be free. In this way, especially with the many alterations of the sculpture, the souvenir begins to be exemplary of how we might each tackle freedom in this post-pandemic epoch.

ES: Could you tell us why or on what shared basis you decided to partner up with GALERIE CHRISTINE MAYER for VARIOUS OTHERS 2021?

PM: The main catalyst for the project was Kristina Schmidt, one of Christine Mayer’s artists. She has been a huge proponent of P.A.D. and has participated in P.A.D exhibitions on numerous occasions. The roster mostly includes artists who have previously contributed to P.A.D.. I think of these exhibitions as being very collaborative. So, when we work on special projects such as the one for VARIOUS OTHERS, we want to invite past collaborators as a way to give them a bigger platform.

ES: So, if you think about it philosophically, Patrick, my final question for you is: What remains?

PM: Yeah, what remains... I don’t know. Freedom, right?

ES: Well, I hope so, and I think we could agree on that, but is there something else? I mean, it’s a nice final word from you but still feel free to answer as you like.

PM: Well, what remains of the actual exhibition is sort of the leftovers. P.A.D. is in dialogue with the street vendors and hustlers as much as it is with the white cube. In that sense, it’s a luxury item. Whatever didn’t sell on the day I performed the “Deal,” where I performed the salesman, is being exhibited as an archive on the second floor of GALERIE CHRISTINE MAYER. So, you can have access to the viewing room where you can see what did and did not sell, remnants of an art exhibition on the street.

ES: Thank you. That is a strong and beautiful statement. All the best for your work and the work of P.A.D. gallery in New York.

PM: Take care.


11.09.2021 – 16.10.2021
Opening 10.09.