The Germania Bank Building on the corner of Bowery and Spring in Manhattan has long been the kind of structure that inspires New York real-estate fever dreams: mysterious and historic, seemingly abandoned, and central to a number of subway lines. But over the past two weeks (ending today), its wooden doors were uncharacteristically sliding open and shut with the speed of a camera’s shutter, revealing a titillating glance at the enigmatic interior, decorated with works by Julian Schnabel, Harmony Korine, Ron Gorchov, Dan Colen, Joe Bradley, Mark Grotjahn, and Jeff Elrod.
The exhibition was curated by Vito Schnabel in an exhibition he calls “First Show/Last Show,” and displayed the artworks in cavernous bank lobby rooms fitted with brawny wood moldings and wood-and-beige tile floors overlaid with the lines of a basketball court. Until last year, it was the home of photographer Jay Maisel, but like all spooky-house legends, it seemed that nobody ever went in and nobody ever went out. Then, in that common Manhattan real-estate deus ex machina, developer Aby Rosen bought the place. (They’ll barely let him touch the Four Seasons, but he'll have free reign over the graffiti-spattered Renaissance Revival hovel.)