Galleries abound in New York City, but Sperone Westwater, which opened in September 2010, is making its mark with a roster of international artists and an architecturally unique space on New York City’s Bowery. It has showcased works by Argentinean artist, Guillermo Kuitca, and Bruce Nauman, and opened a new installation by German sculptor and painter, Heinz Mack, January 7 through February 25, 2011.
Not the least of its features is an unusual footprint, occupying a compact 25 by 100 foot site, and consisting of vertical architecture, milled glass facade, and unusual 12 by 20 foot moving gallery, which connects the upper four exhibition floors and allows visitors to move between levels, while serving as an art gallery space of its own. Based on the notion that a freight elevator can be more than a conveyance for transporting crates, the movable gallery is an integral part of Sperone Westwater, and serves not only to display art, but to comprise it as well.
The overall exhibition area can be extended by parking the moving room at any floor and leaving its door open, while an additional elevator and stairs provide alternative access. There are numerous exhibition spaces, as well as a 27-foot high exhibition area at street level, with a sky-lit gallery, mezzanine floor and sculpture terrace overlooking a garden. Norman Foster, of Foster + Partners, who designed the gallery, sees the total space as an architecturally unique way to view art. “The moving gallery 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,” said Foster.
Angela Westwater, who with Gian Enzo Sperone owns the gallery, noted the historical and artistic legacy of the area. “I first visited the Bowery in 1970, specifically the studio of Roy Lichtenstein at the corner of Spring and Bowery, with John Coplans, for whom I worked at Artforum Magazine. Gian Enzo Sperone also visited numerous artists there, and actually spotted the 257 Bowery site in the fall of 2007. The neighborhood pulses with energy, and has also become an architectural destination,” said Westwater. The gallery provides an exhilarating addition to the architecture of the area, which includes the New Museum and Cooper Union academic building.
BY NANCY JEFFRIES
IMAGES NIGEL YOUNG FOSTER + PARTNERS
Sperone Westwater Makes Moving Debut
257 BOWERY NEW YORK