I’m currently trying to fumble a whole piece of writing for http://www.new-art-theory.org/ about the consequences of conceptual existential architecture and the capitalistic asethetic that already exists but how it is maintained through architecture… and how rather than advance art – it takes away. But i’m only half way through it. Whilst ‘researching’ this I found this new plan for the a gallery. In the Lower East Side – Bowery. Now I hate to again refer back to my practice – WHAT? Nasty gentrification. I can’t help but feel this is where the credit crunch is taking us. The art scene started in the Lower East Side, moved to SoHo and then the Chelsea. So now we’re moving back to culture, somewhat run down in beautiful decay LES. pssssct!
Regardless. It sounds good. But thats despite the point, what they write and how it actually turns out is 2 different things. what this space:
Sperone Westwater has announced that the gallery will move to a new building at 257 Bowery in December 2009. British based Foster + Partners, headed by Norman Foster with Architects of Record Adamson Associates, have been commissioned to build the new nine-story gallery located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, one block north of the New Museum. Prompted by Sperone Westwater’s increasing need for larger and more flexible space, the Foster + Partners design will double the exhibition area and provide a variety of rooms for the gallery’s ambitious and diverse program.
A distinctive innovation in the design is a moving exhibition space, a 12 x 20-foot moving hall that connects the five floors where works of art will be on view. The exhibition space allows visitors to move gradually between levels and will be a prominent feature along the Bowery, visible from the street, its gentle pace contrasting with the fast-moving traffic. At any given floor, the exhibition space can be extended by parking the moving hall as required. This “moving exhibit” will set a new standard in experiencing art and pioneer a novel approach to vertical movement within a gallery building.
The design incorporates a mezzanine floor and double-height display area at street level, a sculpture terrace towards the park and a private viewing gallery at the top of the public floors. A setback marks the location of the offices. Works of art will be stored primarily in the basement, while an extensive library is located at the top of the building below the mechanical floor. Daylight filters into the library through a light well, defining the reading space below.
The two layers of facade that house the moving exhibit acts as a buffer zone, protecting the building from extreme temperatures and acoustically insulating the galleries. A series of openings in the outer layer of this façade, together with the moving exhibition elements, provide a natural flow of air – a part of the building’s sustainable agenda.
In speaking about the project, Norman Foster stated:
The concept for Sperone Westwater Gallery is both a response to the Bowery’s dynamic urban character and a desire to rethink the way in which we engage with art in the setting of a gallery. The moving exhibit Hall animates the exterior of the building and creates a bold vertical element within. Like a kinetic addition to the street, it is a lively symbol of the area’s reinvention and a daring response to the Gallery’s major program.
ABOUT SPERONE WESTWATER
Sperone Westwater Fischer was founded in 1975, when Italian art dealer Gian Enzo Sperone, Angela Westwater, and German art dealer Konrad Fischer opened a space at 142 Greene Street in SoHo, New York. (The gallery’s name was changed to Sperone Westwater in 1982.) The original goal of the gallery was to showcase European artists who had little or no recognition in the United States, along with a collection of American painters and sculptors to whom the three founders were committed. Notable early exhibitions include “Aspects of Recent Art from Europe,” a 1977 group show featuring important work by Joseph Beuys and Jannis Kounellis; a 1977 exhibition of minimalist works by Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Sol Lewitt; German artist Gerhard Richter’s first solo exhibition in New York in 1978; and the installation of one of Mario Merz’s celebrated glass and neon igloos in 1979 – part of the gallery’s ongoing dedication to Arte Povera artists, including Alighiero Boetti. Other early historical exhibitions in the Greene Street space featured the work of Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni.
In 2002, Sperone Westwater moved from SoHo to a 10,000 square foot space on West 13th Street in the Meatpacking District. Today, almost 35 years after its conception, the gallery continues to exhibit the work of prominent artists of diverse nationality and age, who work in various media. Renowned American artists Bruce Nauman and Susan Rothenberg have been with Sperone Westwater since 1975 and 1987, respectively. They are joined by established and internationally-recognized artists, including Malcolm Morley, Richard Long, Guillermo Kuitca, Evan Penny and William Wegman as well as a younger generation of artists like Tom Sachs, Charles LeDray, Wim Delvoye and Liu Ye. The gallery’s 2008-2009 exhibition schedule includes two major group shows, “Sculpting Time” and “ZERO in New York”, and solo presentations of work by Evan Penny, Susan Rothenberg and Bertozzi & Casoni. Also in 2009 Bruce Nauman will represent the United States at the Venice Biennale in an exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.