NEW YORK - Hauser & Wirth has been gaining steam for some time in the top tier of the gallery derby, with an expanding list of artists and a decidedly European, intellectual flair. Now the gallery – long a presence in Zurich and London, as well as New York’s Upper East Side – has opened an eye-popping new space in Chelsea, on the site of the old dance club/roller rink The Roxy (ah, memories). It’s nearly 30,000-square-feet and features the building’s gorgeous old wooden beamed roof, which has been expertly restored by the architect Annabelle Selldorf; she is responsible for many of the world’s deluxe gallery spaces, including the new one David Zwirner is about to open two blocks away in Chelsea, as well’s as Zwirner’s existing one in the neighborhood.



Installation view, Dieter Roth. Björn Roth, Hauser & Wirth New York NY, 2013. © Dieter Roth Estate, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Photo: Bjarni Grímsson.

Hauser & Wirth has been in a celebratory mood of late, last year publishing a weighty 20th anniversary tome looking at all their artists and exhibitions over two decades (it’s truly doorstop size). The new Chelsea gallery smells intensely of chocolate right now, but not because of any festive anniversary party they are throwing: It’s part of the opening show, Dieter Roth. Bjorn Roth, which will be up through April 13.



Installation view, Dieter Roth. Björn Roth, Hauser & Wirth New York NY, 2013. © Dieter Roth Estate, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Photo: Bjarni Grímsson.

The Swiss-born Dieter Roth, who died in 1998, never fully broke through the consciousness of mainstream American art lovers, but his reputation has steadily grown. Last year, when I asked MoMA director Glenn Lowry to cite a too-oft overlooked item in the museum’s permanent collection, he picked Roth’s Solo Scenes, comprised of 128 monitors documenting the last year of Roth's life. He called it “an intimate and utterly absorbing self-portrait.”


Installation view, Dieter Roth. Björn Roth, Hauser & Wirth New York NY, 2013. © Dieter Roth Estate, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Photo: Bjarni Grímsson.

And for this show, Roth’s son, Bjorn, has picked up the baton and re-installed some of his father’s best known works – including part of Solo Scenes and the sweet-smelling Chocolate Tower and Sugar Tower, both of which involve candy that is made on-premise and then stacked creatively. Continuing the paternal tradition, Bjorn has enlisted his own two sons in the creation of the show, and they have even opened a liquor and coffee bar that will be a permanent part of the gallery. There are paintings and prints on display too in this very substantial-feeling exhibition, for those who like their media non-edible.