We just got back from our date with John McEnroe (OK, so maybe he was there on his own and we just tried to make eye contact) at the new Sperone Westwater gallery at 257 Bowery, and wouldn't you know it, Norman Foster got us good. There we were, wandering through the gallery floors displaying paintings by Argentinean artist Guillero Kuitca, when we stepped into a room at the east end of the building and... the doors closed behind us. Trapped in the Moving Room! And we didn't suspect a thing, because British starchitect Sir Norman Foster's big red box is windowless and, well, room-like.
That's pretty much a microcosm of the skinny new eight-story Bowery building. If you've been in one white-walled art gallery with thick concrete floors, you've been in them all, and Sperone Westwater fits snugly into the category of Serious Places To Look At Art. Like the New Museum a few doors down, its unusual facade and form are grand public gestures, but in no way indicative of what's to be found inside. Which isn't to say that 257 Bowery is a bummer. It's got the starchitecture pedigree, but even a name brand like Foster + Partners knows when to cede the stage to the real star of the show: Art!
There are three public gallery floors, two private gallery floors, two floors of offices and a top-floor library. (There's also a mechanical floor and basement.) Oh, and don't forget about the 12' x 20' Moving Room of course, which you can see in action in the video below. Or, you know, just go to the gallery. Either way.