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257 Bowery
New York, NY 10002
By Appointment
212 999 7337
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.) An additional space was later established at 121 Greene Street. The founders' original program showcased a European avant-garde alongside a core group of American artists to whom its founders were committed. Notable early exhibitions include a 1977 show of minimalist works by Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Sol Lewitt; seven of Bruce Nauman's seminal early shows; eleven Richard Long exhibitions; 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 at the Greene Street space include a 1989 group show, "Early Conceptual Works," which featured the work of On Kawara, Bruce Nauman, Alighiero Boetti, and Joseph Kosuth, among others; a 1999 Fontana exhibition titled "Gold: Gothic Masters and Lucio Fontana"; and selected presentations of work by Piero Manzoni. From May 2002 to May 2010, the gallery was located at 415 West 13 Street, in a 10,000-square foot space in the Meatpacking District.

In September 2010, Sperone Westwater inaugurated a new Foster + Partners designed building at 257 Bowery in New York. Today, 40 years after its conception, the gallery continues to exhibit an international roster of prominent artists working in a wide variety of media.
Artists Represented:
Carla Accardi
Barry X Ball
Ali Banisadr
Bertozzi & Casoni
Alighiero Boetti
Wim Delvoye
Braco Dimitrijevic
Kim Dingle
Lucio Fontana
Guillermo Kuitca
Wolfgang Laib
Helmut Lang
Liu Ye
Richard Long
Emil Lukas
Heinz Mack
Piero Manzoni
Mario Merz
Frank Moore
Malcolm Morley
Nabil Nahas
Bruce Nauman
Evan Penny
Otto Piene
Alexis Rockman
Susan Rothenberg
Tom Sachs
Julian Schnabel
Andrew Sendor
Richard Tuttle
Fabio Viale
Not Vital
William Wegman
Martin Wilner
Jan Worst

 

 
Sperone Westwater 257 Bowery, New York, NY © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners


 
Past Exhibitions

Group Show

WOOD WORKS: Raw, Cut, Carved, Covered



June 4, 2021 - August 27, 2021
Sperone Westwater is pleased to present WOOD WORKS: Raw, Cut, Carved, Covered, a diverse exhibition showcasing innovative uses of wood in contemporary art, featuring works by Carla Accardi, Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Kim Dingle, Michele Oka Doner, Rico Gatson, Helmut Lang, Richard Long, Emil Lukas, David Lynch, Katy Moran, Paulo Nazareth, Noah Purifoy, Brent Owens, Tom Sachs, Andrew Sendor, Jean Tinguely, Richard Tuttle and William Wegman. Wood is one of the oldest and most common materials with a long history that reflects the diversity and evolution of human civilization. A sustainable, structural material, wood has been integral to the development of every culture around the world, used to make ancient ritual objects such as ­talismans and coffins, prehistoric weaponry and tools for hunting like spears and fishhooks, aspects of rudimentary machinery like wheels and boats, as well as structures for shelter, scaffolding, and home furnishings. In recent years, artists have employed a variety of conceptual and technical approaches to the medium, sometimes choosing wood for its structural properties and other times for its ecological and temporal connotations. Considering the past year’s challenges— the global pandemic and the restructuring of daily life— the transformation of common materials into new forms has become more meaningful than ever. The exhibition features several works of assemblage constructed from a diverse range of available things, ranging from junk materials to urban debris, found items and simple motors. In the East gallery, Tom Sachs’ epic sculpture The Cabinet (2014) epitomizes the bricoleur’s practice—here, Sachs creates replicas of wooden ConEdison barriers to construct a wall-mounted wunderkammern, filled with hundreds of weapons and tools inscribed with the name of someone who inspired him, referencing celebrities, musicians, and architects such as Le Corbusier, Norman Foster, Buckminster Fuller and Renzo Piano. On the second floor, Richard Tuttle’s Source of Imagery, 1, (Don Giovanni) (1994) draws beauty and poetry out of humble materials, employing painted and raw plywood, a wooden block, plastic tubing, and a bottle brush. Abraham Cruzvillegas’ Untitled (Portable Opener) (2002) uses a cross section of a tree, pointing to what the artist calls “autoconstruction” or self-building—creating through improvisation with whatever materials are at hand. In this case, he mounts a metal John Deere bottle opener on the tree fragment. Conversely, Helmut Lang’s Untitled (2021) consists of a wood panel from which bottle caps were removed, making distinctive imprints on the enamel and resin coating. In Jean Tinguely’s kinetic sculpture, Soleil Noir (1963), light plywood is juxtaposed with a heavy iron plate and electric motorized metal wheel, suggesting the tension that exists between the human hand and technology. In some cases, these diverse objects carry powerful political connotations. Noah Purifoy, whose Pavilion 1 (1988) is featured on the first floor, dedicated himself to the found object, using art as a tool for social change following the momentous 1965 Watts Riot in South Los Angeles. Making use of debris from the riots, as well as scraps of wicker, fragments of furniture, wooden beads and blocks, Purifoy’s lexicon demonstrates the desire to work with or find beauty in what has been discarded, constructing sculptures part-by-part, taking inspiration from Central African sculpture, Dada, and the history of jazz. In the East gallery, Paulo Nazareth’s Sem titulo, da serie Produtos de Genocidio (2013) places two bottles of bleach and fabric dye inside a resin box atop wood reminiscent of street market stalls. Nazareth’s series Produtos de Genocidio examines products which use names from indigenous cultures. In this case, the use of bleach and dye—to whiten or darken— is a painful reminder of the psychological burdens imposed by institutionalized racism. The violence suggested by these works is recast in Kim Dingle’s Priss (1995), in which two toddlers, pintsize sculptures of the artist and her partner dressed in their Sunday best, run amok in a wooden crib. Among the classic artists in the show, Richard Long utilizes 285 irregular pieces of wood, gathered from the Quantock Hills in Somerset, England, near his hometown in Bristol, to create Quantock Wood Circle (1981). Carl Andre, by contrast, uses identical elements which stand and hold together by their own mass. In Nixes Mate (1992), Andre utilizes eight Western Red Cedar timbers, measuring 12 x 12 x 36 inches, the standard size for his sculptures of uncarved blocks. Carla Accardi’s Verde (1974) utilizes wooden stretcher bars which remain visible under sicofoil, a pliable and transparent industrial plastic, rather than canvas. Of the more recent works in the show, Michele Oka Doner’s Totem (2007/2015) again transforms found material—the branches, bark, and roots of a tree—into a totemic sculpture held together by archival wax, suggesting the abstracted form of an ancient caryatid. Such veneration is also present in Rico Gatson’s Throne III (2016), a regal high-back chair meant to memorialize the passing of significant people in the artist’s life. Throne III is emblazoned with vivid geometric ornamentation, using a vibrant Pan-African palate on wood, also present in his abstract Panel Paintings (2014-2021).

John Giorno



March 25, 2021 - May 28, 2021
Sperone Westwater is pleased to present the first posthumous exhibition of John Giorno (1936-2019), opening on 25 March 2021 and extending through 28 May 2021. This solo marks the late artist’s second show with the gallery, following “John Giorno: DO THE UNDONE” in the Fall of 2019. The opening will take place from 12 to 7 PM on 25 March. Giorno’s black-and-white paintings, dating from 2011-2018 and measuring 48x48 inches, are installed as a grid in the main gallery. Executed in the trademark font Mark Michaelson developed for the artist in 1984, these twelve screen-printed works incorporate phrases from Giorno’s distinctive poetry, such as IT DOESN’T GET BETTER, THANX 4 NOTHING and GOD IS MAN MADE. In the East gallery, a collaborative audio-visual new media installation created by John Giorno with his husband, the artist Ugo Rondinone, beckons afar, seen but not heard in the distance from the gallery’s Bowery entrance. Inside the intimate skylight room, a multimedia work entitled John Giorno Performing I Don’t Need it, I don’t want it, and You Cheated Me Out of It, 1981 & Eating the Sky, 1978 reveals itself in the round on double sided flat screen monitors. The work unifies the visual with a corresponding audio track of the artist’s performative reading, coinciding and timed with the visual changes in words on the screen. Transforming from positive to negative and back again in the two-sided frame, the installation becomes visual, sensual and auditory in one complete experience. Eating the Sky, 1978, is a landmark work that references American politics in a period in which the so-called “culture wars” were just beginning. It was also created in the year in which Giorno convened a gathering of the downtown New York art world to celebrate in readings, performances, and song, including contributions from William S. Burroughs. Dubbed “The Nova Convention,” this multi-day festival featured performances by Burroughs, Brian Gysin, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson and many other luminaries of the avant-garde. The second floor of the gallery will showcase Giorno’s rare individual works which were not a part of a specific series, but function on their own. These 48x48 inch canvases incorporate a hybrid of visual strategies both in the black and white and with colored lettering. Each features a classic phrase from one of his key poems, such as SIT IN MY HEART AND SMILE and YOU GOT TO BURN TO SHINE. John Giorno (1936-2019) is recognized as one of the most innovative poets and artists of the 20th Century. His kaleidoscopic work fused and furthered poetry, visual art and activism, pushing text off the printed page and into the social realm. Giorno’s The New York Times obituary concluded: “Mr. Giorno’s lasting contribution to art came through his restless experiments in the circulation and political potential of poetry, which he felt had been unjustly overshadowed by other genres of expression.” Giorno’s interdisciplinary roles as a political activist, Tibetan Buddhist and performance artist culminated in a burst of creativity in the second half of his artistic career. From 1995-2019, the artist produced an impressive body of visual art in the medium of painting, sculpture and works on paper, critically acclaimed and exhibited by leading galleries and museums worldwide. Giorno’s work is in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, SF MOMA, Columbus Museum of Art, and other institutions internationally, as well as in private collections around the world. Giorno’s autobiography, Great Demon Kings: A Memoir of Poetry, Sex, Death and Enlightenment, 25 years in the making, was published in August 2020 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. A paperback version will be published in August 2021.

Richard Long

MUDDY HEAVEN



April 1, 2020 - May 31, 2020

Susan Rothenberg



January 9, 2020 - February 29, 2020
Sperone Westwater is pleased to present eight new paintings and six works on paper by Susan Rothenberg for the artist’s twelfth solo show at the gallery. Inspired by the artist’s surroundings in New Mexico, the animals and birds in these new works – pack rats, doves, and ravens – are caught in intense, fleeting moments. Rothenberg’s brushstrokes convey urgency and movement while building images that not only charge abstraction with representation but also confound figure and ground. These new works signal that she continues to be an independent figure, reimagining painting at a time when a new generation of artists is vitally taking up the question. Susan Rothenberg’s first New York solo in 1975 took place at 112 Greene Street, an alternative space in SoHo. It consisted of three large paintings of horses. Almost 20 years later Peter Schjeldahl, when writing about Rothenberg’s 1993 Albright-Knox retrospective, called that 1975 exhibition, a “eureka” moment because, for him and some artists, it brought painting back from the dead. He described the critical significance of those paintings as having “introduced symbolic imagery into Minimalist abstraction” and characterized them as having “powerful vulnerability or vulnerable power” simultaneously. Early on, her practice encouraged many other female artists, who continue to regard her with admiration and gratitude. For example, Amy Sillman selected Rothenberg’s 1977 Untitled work on paper for her current curated show at MoMA, “Artist’s Choice: Amy Sillman – The Shape of Shape.” Susan Rothenberg has had numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including early solos at Kunsthalle, Basel (1981-82), the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1982) and an exhibition organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that traveled to seven institutions in the US and abroad (1983-85); a retrospective organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo that traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Seattle Art Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art (1992-94); a survey at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Monterrey, Mexico (1996-97); “Susan Rothenberg: Paintings from the Nineties” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1999); and an exhibition of drawings and prints at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University that traveled to the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu and the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe (1998-99). A survey, “Moving in Place,” was organized by Michael Auping at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and traveled to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe and the Miami Art Museum (2009-11). Her work can be found in important public and private collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery; the Hall Collection; Hirshhorn Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Stedelijk Museum; Tate, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum, New York. In 1987, Rothenberg had her first solo at Sperone Westwater, where she exhibits regularly (1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2016).

David Lynch

Squeaky Flies in the Mud



November 1, 2019 - December 21, 2019
Sperone Westwater is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by artist and filmmaker David Lynch, his first with the gallery. The show will feature paintings, works on paper, watercolors, lamp sculptures and furniture. Lynch’s five-decade career includes an extensive range of art-making— painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, music and film. While studying at the Boston Museum School and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in the late 1960s, Lynch envisioned his first ‘moving painting’; a multidimensional painting beneath a moving projection titled Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) (1967). This multimedia work marked Lynch’s first foray into video and filmmaking. Since that time, his prolific career has touched on subjects of the organic body and industrial sites in various states of decay, describing a deeper human experience both beyond and within the everyday. Often depicting these scenes with a language of surrealism and mystery, Lynch’s work balances at the porous divide between the body and the world it inhabits. Lynch has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including, most recently, a survey at HOME, Manchester (2019). Retrospectives include “Someone is in my House” at the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (2018-19), “Silence and Dynamism” at the Centre of Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland (2017-18), “Between Two Worlds” at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia (2015), and “The Air is on Fire” at the Fondation Cartier, Paris (2007). In 2014-15, a survey was presented at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) where he studied. In 2013-14, Brett Littman curated a thematic selection of works utlizing “naming” through narrative text at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles, which traveled to the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2014-15). Other earlier important solos included “David Lynch: The Factory Photographs” at the Photographers’ Gallery, London (2014), the GL Strand in Copenhagen (2010-11), and the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow (2009). Born in Missoula, Montana, David Lynch now lives and works in Los Angeles. Lynch is also known as a filmmaker and recording artist who over the past three decades has written and directed critically acclaimed films such as Eraserhead (1977), The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986), Lost Highway (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001), Inland Empire (2006) and the television series Twin Peaks (1990-91). He is also represented by Kayne Griffin Corcoran in Los Angeles.

John Giorno

DO THE UNDONE



September 5, 2019 - October 26, 2019

Andy Warhol

By Hand: Part II, Drawings 1950s – 1960s



April 25, 2019 - July 19, 2019

Katy Moran

I want to live in the afternoon of that day



March 1, 2019 - April 13, 2019

Emil Lukas



January 9, 2019 - February 23, 2019

Peter Halley

Unseen Paintings 1997 – 2002, From the Collection of Gian Enzo Sperone



November 2, 2018 - December 22, 2018

Malcolm Morley

Tally-ho



September 12, 2018 - October 27, 2018

Michael Landy

Summer Sale



June 27, 2018 - August 3, 2018

Alexis Rockman

New Mexico Field Drawings



June 21, 2018 - August 3, 2018

Jitish Kallat



April 26, 2018 - June 16, 2018

Wolfgang Laib

Where the Land and Water End



March 9, 2018 - April 21, 2018

Kim Dingle



January 10, 2018 - March 3, 2018