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Sperone Westwater Will Move to Bowery in December 2009

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.


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.


Carla Accardi, Josef Albers, Bertozzi & Casoni, Alighiero Boetti, Nicola Bolla, Giorgio de Chirico, Wim Delvoye, Kim Dingle, Aaron van Erp, Lucio Fontana, Andrew Grassie, On Kawara, Guillermo Kuitca, Charles LeDray, Liu Ye, Richard Long, Sebastian Ludwig, Piero Manzoni, Mario Merz, Frank Moore, Giorgio Morandi, Malcolm Morley, Nabil Nahas, Bruce Nauman, Evan Penny, Francis Picabia, Susan Rothenberg, Tom Sachs, Mario Schifano, Julian Schnabel, Laurie Simmons, Richard Tuttle, Not Vital, Andy Warhol, William Wegman, Jan Worst

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Save the Bowery!!

...and don't forget to send this quick e-mail to save the Bowery!!
send to:,,,

RE: FUCA to rezone the east side of the Bowery

Dear Chair Burden:

I write to request that, in conjunction with the current East Village/ Lower East Side Rezoning, a Follow-up Corrective Action (FUCA) be initiated immediately by the City Planning Commission to protect the Bowery by rezoning or extending the Special Little Italy District (SLID) from the west side of the Bowery to the east side of the Bowery.

At the November 12, 2008 Subcommittee Hearing on Zoning and Franchises, Chair Tony Avella, Council Member Alan Gerson, and Council Member Rosie Mendez all stated their support for an immediate protective rezoning of the Bowery. In addition, we have the support of Community Board 3, the Greenwich Village Society For Historic Preservation, the Historic Districts Council, the Society for the Architecture of the City, the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, and the Coalition To Save The East Village.

Although the Bowery has always had a unique place in the history of the City of New York, in recent years we have watched large, out-of-scale development going up on the east side of the Bowery, the result of which has been the destruction of the context, historic character and diversity of the community.

The City has recognized the historic significance of the Bowery by protecting the west side of the Bowery in the Special Little Italy District, and the NOHO Historic District. The East Village/ Lower East Side Rezoning will protect the area just east of the Bowery. However, the east side of the Bowery itself has been left out of all these rezonings.

The east side of the Bowery must be rezoned today to ensure that it is in context with the rest of the community -- the Special Little Italy District, the NOHO Historic District, and East Village/ Lower East Side. If a Follow-Up Corrective Action is not initiated as part of this current East Village/ Lower East Side rezoning the historic Bowery will be replaced with a wall of towers.

On Saving the Bowery

The east side of The Bowery doesn't have a whole lot going for it architecturally these days. To me both the New Museum and the Sperone-Westwater/Norman Foster buildings are welcome additions to the neighborhood even though I have very grave reservations about how the New Museum has used their space. Why, for instance, didn't they put the cafe out front where flaneurs such as myself could stop and waste a few hours sipping a coffee at a sidewalk table. Oh, wait, I guess I answered my own question...

The Bowery Mission down the block from the New Museum isn't going away any time soon and since I have intimate knowledge of the Mission and its corporate structure I would suggest that the east side of The Bowery is deserving of a new way of thinking about urban public space. The New Museum should head this, of course, but they won't. They are slumming for the time being until more congenial neighbors are built around them. Marsha Tucker would have understood this, but she's dead. In her place we have expensive ad campaigns for the Elizabeth Peyton show instead of the more important, art historically, Mary Heilmann (the real thing, imho).

Ah, well. John Giorno still mans The Bunker across the street (Hell, Yes!) but wouldn't The Bowery make a wonderful Boulevard that would be the answer to the Las Vegas version of New York, New York? We could create our own simulacra of the city there with maybe a few sidewalk tables for the forgotten flaneur.