up and down in the gallery    In the Bowery in Manhattan, the Sperone Westwater art gallery has just built and opened up a new space. And it hasn’t employed just any old “Tom Dick or Harry” to do so. There is absolutely no debating the originality and the visual splendidness of the new building designed and built by Sir Norman Foster (the elegant architect who is more popular than Brad Pitt in old folks homes) and his colleagues. The key element to the nine-story building is the moving 4 x 7 metre gallery. This mobile room moves up and down inside the structure of the building thus allowing access to works of art displayed at different heights. The concept of “floor” totally changes in this special building. Where this moving gallery that essentially functions as an elevator decides to stop is basically where the floor is, simple as that. There is no lie in saying that there are both no floors and infinite floors at the same time.

The façade of the building is semi-transparent and so the ground and upper floors are constantly visible from the street. There is no doubt that this skyscraper-style building will attract a huge amount of tourists and visitors to the Bowery neighbourhood. Nevertheless, this type of urban innovation is inevitably a source of socio-cultural change in these neighbourhoods. The less-moneyed communities are forced out in favour of the wealthier, who move in. We’ll come back to this phenomenon of “gentrification” in a future issue of the balde. It’s an issue that certainly merits more attention.