“Brice, I am so glad you’re back,” a visitor to Gagosian Gallery’s Grosvenor Hill space here in London said to the artist Brice Marden Tuesday night. It was the opening of Marden’s first show since leaving Matthew Marks, his dealer of over two decades, in January, choosing instead to settle down with Larry Gagosian and his global constellation of galleries. But perhaps the gallery-goer was referring to a different type of return: It’s also Marden’s first show in London since he presented work at the Serpentine Galleries in 2000.
The artist did not disappoint, as he lugged to London from his studio in upstate New York ten canvases, each a gripping study in the color green, the shade shifting from canvas to canvas. The first work in the show, Eastern Moss, is a series of nine small panels that he began in 2012, and he picked up on the theme a few years later, starting to work on the larger works in 2016. Each has an essence that can’t be photographed that easily.
A pack of visitors stuffed the place at the start and the finish—it is, perhaps, the most anticipated gallery opening during this busy week. Local heavies such as Frieze’s director. Victoria Siddall, and former Tate director Nicholas Serota stopped in, before eventually shuffling off to another opening.
There were a lot of openings! Sticking to Mayfair meant missing Josh Kline’s show at Stuart Shave Modern Art, a long Uber ride away (despite the warnings, Uber has not been banned in London quite yet) but in this posh hood are great offerings from galleries such as David Zwirner, which opened a Sherrie Levine tonight. Called “Pie Town,” it consists of many rooms of bronzes, monochromes, replications, and snapshots from the Pictures Generation great. Another Gagosian outpost, on Davies Street, a block from Grosvenor Hill, had a few works by Tom Wesselmann, complemented by a collection of grand Wesselmann nudes downstairs at Almine Rech. The main show upstairs was Almine Rech’s first show of work by the German artist Ernst Wilhelm Nay. And let’s not forget the work of Alicja Kwade, which filled all of Kamel Mennour’s small space abutting Claridge’s.
There are more openings to come in the next few days, not to mention, you know, two major art fairs that let in VIPs Wednesday morning. Frieze Week continues apace.