Arts spaces are unfortunately ephemeral things. As time goes by, it’s inevitable that institutions dev0ted t0 the arts—whether they be independent galleries, performance spaces, or studios—will encounter difficulties, and many come and go each passing year in favour of commercial options and condos. But sometimes, if you wait long enough, you can see spaces swing back round to what they once stood for—and that seems to be just the case at one of the former spaces of iconic rock club CBGB.
Announced this past week, 313 Bowery in New York City—what once was CBGB Gallery rather than 315 Bowery where the likes of The Ramones, Blondie, and The Talking Heads broke ground in the punk and new wave scenes of the 70s—will be reopening as Spazio Amanita with its first exhibition slated for September 29th. The true club space, which closed in 2006, has been marked a historic site since 2013 and is currently occupied by John Varvatos—a men’s fashion brand.
Spazio Amanita is the endeavour of curator Caio Twombly (grandson to famed American artist Cy Twombly) and Tommaso Rositani Suckert (nephew to Italian artist and writer Curzio Malaparte). The pair have a permanent location in Florence and have already had their first LA opening earlier this year—“I Do My Own Stunts”—where they highlight the tenacity and courage of choosing to create art through the works of twenty different women.
The inaugural exhibition of the New York space for Amanita will be of Italian artist Leonardo Meoni’s works on velvet canvases, depicting now lost monuments. The group has chosen to maintain one of the notoriously grungy bathrooms from the original CBGB space and has even had the former Ramones manager stop by the space and give his approval to their endeavour.
While it may not serve the exact same purpose or clientele that CBGB once centred around, it is encouraging to see modern arts entrepreneurs honour the deep historical significance of such a space. And certainly, it is preferable to see 313 Bowery servicing arts rather than being rented as some commercial office. As Spazio Amanita continues its expansion and increases its presence as a presentation space, one hopes that they will continue to maintain and foster the goodwill of the former home of punk in New York.