GUGGENHEIM GETS COS: Agnes Martin’s muted color palette and minimalistic art are right in line with COS’ extra-clean aesthetic, which helps explain why the retailer is sponsoring the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s upcoming exhibition of her work.
When it opens to the public Oct. 7, the retrospective will showcase 110 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and a screening of her seldom-seen 1976 film “Gabriel” from the Canadian-American artist, who died in 2004. Fifteen works will be unique to the New York show, including “White Flower (1960),” which was acquired by the Guggenheim in 1963 and was the first work by the preeminent painter of the twentieth century to become part of a museum collection. Identified by her minimalism and, to a lesser degree, abstract expressionism, Martin was one of the few female artists to emerge from these male-dominated art movements of the late Fifties and Sixties.
Having welcomed nearly 1 million visitors last year, the Guggenheim connection will no doubt strengthen COS’ brand awareness. The alliance coincides with COS’ plans to open four more stores in the U.S., including its third in New York, in the Westfield World Trade Center. The H&M-owned COS, which waded into the American market in 2014, already had nine stores here. Three others are in the works: in Miami’s Design District, in downtown Los Angeles and in Chicago. The company plans to periodically host events at the the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Fifth Avenue museum throughout the Agnes Martin exhibition’s run, but those details have yet not been finalized, a COS spokesman said Tuesday.
Supporting various art projects around the world and featuring lengthy interviews with artists in its magazine are integral parts of COS’ strategy. In April, COS recruited the Tokyo-based Sou Fujimoto Architects to create the multisensory installation “Forest of Light” for Salone del Mobile in Milan. And for the Berlin Gallery Weekend in March, the chain partnered with artist Michael Sailstorfer to create “Silver Cloud,” a specially commissioned outdoor installation. Last fall, COS supported the “Donald Judd: Prints” installation at the Judd Foundation in New York, a short walk from its Spring Street store.
Martin first came to the U.S. in 1932 and became an American citizen in 1950. In the Forties and early Fifties, she lived, off and on, in the northwestern part of the country, as well as in New Mexico and New York City, where she earned a degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. In 1957, she put down stakes in lower Manhattan’s Coenties Slip with neighboring artists Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, James Rosenquist, Lenore Tawney and Jack Youngerman. The following year she secured her first solo show at the Betty Parsons Gallery.