The site of the old Roxy roller disco, a low slung 1920s garage sitting just beyond the High Line at 511 West 18th Street, has been given a whole new life by Selldorf Architects as a ginormous 24,700 square foot gallery for Hauser & Wirth. This was where graffiti met an ugly death when the Roxy was de-tagged a few years back. More recently, to make way for lots of big work from artist Dieter Roth, the creative crew from Selldorf gutted the remnants of the Roxy, removing dump loads of detritus to get to the bones of the vast space.
High overhead, robust old beams and rafters have been exposed, topped with acres of weathered wood. Down below, an expansive new floor in concrete still shows the arcing curve of the old roller rink, where Beat Street break dancers battled back in '84 and rollerinas & disco bunnies reigned right up until the last dance in 2007.
Now the gallery space shows off the life's work of Dieter Roth, including massive installations of found objects. At center stage is The Floor I, a monolithic work in wood & paint transported from a studio in Mosfellsbaer, Iceland. Across the open gallery a new installation, New York Kitchen, displays pots of melted chocolate. Artists on site pour the sweet stuff into molds, popping out human heads and stacking them high nearby, creating a skyscraping steeple of sweets. Tucked away in an upper corner, overlooking the long staircase leading up from 18th Street, Dieter's son Bjorn Roth has installed a "fully functioning bar" as a tribute to his pop, with a plexi-topped table encasing bits and pieces of Roxy memorabilia.
Hauser & Wirth isn't the only West Chelsea gallery where Selldorf's work can be found. Just two blocks north, at 537 West 20th Street, a big mass of exposed concrete has just been unveiled. This is the new home for David Zwirner, a 30,000 square foot 5-story exhibition space, touted as the first commercial gallery to receive LEED certification, and scheduled to open this spring, showcasing works by Dan Flavin and Donald Judd.
· Vast exhibition venue to open with masterworks by Dieter Roth [Hauser & Wirth]
· New York: 20th Street [David Zwirner]
· High Line Construction Chronicles: De-Tagging The Roxy! [Curbed]
· Selldorf Architects coverage [Curbed]