Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Roth Rolls On At The Roxy: Hauser & Wirth in Chelsea

Dieter Roth redux as his gallery takes over the old Roxy roller rink disco

Installation shot, “Dieter Roth. Björn Roth” at Hauser & Wirth, 511 West 18th Street, New York, 2013.
Installation shot, “Dieter Roth. Björn Roth” at Hauser & Wirth, 511 West 18th Street, New York, 2013.

International powerhouse gallery Hauser & Wirth opened a second New York venue this week, dramatically their footprint in the city with a grand, 24,000-square foot industrial space on Chelsea’s 18th Street.  Replete with original wooden ceiling, rooftop skyline, and sweeping entry ramp, the column-free expanse, designed by Annabelle Selloff respects the former stable that also once served asthe legendary 1970s roller rink disco, the Roxy.  Vice President and director of the New York galleries, Mark Payot said, “The idea in New York is that while we have the classical townhouse space on 69th Street, some of our artists need more of an industrial setting. We looked for a long time, searching for two years until we found this and it’s been one year in the works. We are convinced this space will be important for our expansion, and will create more possibilities for our artists.”

The inaugural show is of the late Dieter Roth.  The show includes reconstructed works by the Swiss-German artist’s son, Björn, with whom Dieter collaborated for over 20 years, now in turn assisted by his own two sons, Oddur and Einar.  Revered as “a performance artist in all the mediums he touched,” Roth was an early exponent of collaborative art, and the 100 works in this show encompass video, installation, prints, and paintings.  Signature pieces like the chocolate towers and colored sugar towers have been re-assembled in the gallery kitchen, using four basic figurative molds. In 1994, the original Sugar Tower collapsed; Roth later advised Björn to use the broken busts to construct the new tower.  Roth collaborated with many artists in the course of his career, including Richard Hamilton, Dorothy Iannone, Hermann Nitsch and Emmett Williams.  Major works like Large Table Ruin and the Kleiderbilder paintings created from the artist’s own clothes are also on show here.  Organized with the cooperation of the Dieter Roth Foundation in Hamburg, the show features several pieces never before seen in the United States.

“No other artist is closer to our gallery identity,” Payot explained. “Dieter Roth is a father figure of our program, with his emphasis upon not just the finished project. His work has been very undervalued in the American market, and Bjorn and his sons have been here since mid-December to create this work.”

Visitors can stop in for a drink at the “Roth New York Bar,” created especially for the exhibition but which destined to remain as a permanent liquor and coffee bar at the gallery.  Upcoming shows are by Roni Horn, Paul McCarthy and Matthew Day Jackson, all of who have acknowledged the shamanic inspiration of Dieter Roth.

Dieter Roth. Björn Roth, January 23 to April 18, 2013, at 511 West 18th Street, between 10th and 11th avenues, New York City, 212 790 3900

Dieter Roth/Björn Roth, Zuckerturm (Sugar Tower), 1994—2013. Sugar casts, glass, wood, 175-1/4 x 37-3/4 x 37-3/4 inches.  detail.  Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth
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