Walter de Maria was born in Albany, California in 1935; Tom Wesselmann was born in Cincinnati only 4 years earlier, in 1931. They are therefore almost contemporaries, but their work couldn’t be different, as shown by the two exhibitions facing each other across Grosvenor Hill in London at the Gargosian and Almine Rich galleries. Both exhibitions not only show some of their characteristic works, but drawings and other background material giving an insight into their creativity and their thoughts. One window in the Gargosian even looks directly across to Almine Rech.
Walter de Maria’s work focuses on geometrical concepts, often combing the circle and the square and how they connect and interconnect with each other in three dimensions and in time, with viewer interacton; Tom Wesselmann brings the bright sunshine and colour of California to London and we see how his 3D geometric works interplay with his colourful female images – it is fascinating to study the two together along with the studies and drawings, many of which are on show in the lower floor.
Grosvenor Hill is a funny street, one of those with shared surfaces, which works reasonably well until you are nearly run over by a car. It seems a missed opportunity that, with two international galleries facing each other, and Phillips round the corner, that with imaginative solutions, it could not be a used for sculptural art, perhaps linked to the exhibitions, to complement those installed in Berkeley Square to the south. If the more chaotic Brooks Mews can have a temporary sculpture in front of Ben Brown Fine Arts, related to the current exhibition inside, why can this not be done in the more controlled environment here?