Phillips in London has its impressive modern glass eight-story building in Grosvenor Square. In New York, it’s competitor Christie’s is the one with the large building. Phillips does not have that opportunity, but it makes up for it with its location, in prime downtown space in Park Avenue, which last week had Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Work: Zodiac Heads” drawing the attention of passers-by through its large street-level windows, leading into its exhibition space inside and down into the basement where the gallery has been kept simple, with services exposed, to maximise the efficiency of the display areas.
The triumph for this last week’s modern and contemporary art previews was the space Phillips had adopted on the un-refurbished fifteenth floor of the building, giving it the edge over Sotheby’s, with the sculpture by contemporary artists (including a Jeff Koons that Sotheby’s had also been showing in front of windows) in front of great views across the rooftops of New York.
There is also a separate gallery, which was showing Latin American art, which doesn’t work as well – on the day we visited we had to brave torrential rain to run across to it.