NEW YORK – A fashion label sponsoring an artist’s exhibition is kind of ho-hum in the world of marketing, but COS is ditching the status quo by developing a capsule collection inspired by the late artist Agnes Martin.
As part of its support of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s upcoming retrospective of the American painter, the COS design team has developed 12 limited-edition pieces for women and men. The artist’s work, which bordered between Abstract Expressionism and the Minimalist movements, bows Oct. 7 and will remain on view through Jan. 11. A museum spokeswoman said Wednesday, “The Guggenheim frequently offers exhibition-related merchandise such as T-shirts or tote bags, but this clothing line by COS is the first.”
In a video shot in and around the Frank Lloyd Wright landmark museum on Fifth Avenue, COS creative director Karin Gustafsson said Martin was known for her delicate color palette and geometric lines and grids. In keeping with the design aesthetic, COS, an H&M-owned entity, has developed a minimalist collection in muted colors on linens and canvas. Each of the textile prints are meant to reference a specific piece of Martin’s work with checks and stripes hand-drawn and hand-stitched to “create a quiet, organic irregularity,”
Martin liked to layer oversized shirts with grandfather collars over dresses, or dresses over trousers, according to Gustafsson. With retail prices in the $89 to $250 range, the COS × Agnes Martin collection will be available at the Guggenheim Museum’s store and select COS units internationally starting Oct. 7. A percentage of the proceeds from sales in COS stores will be donated to the Agnes Martin Foundation.
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.
When it opens to the public Oct. 7, the retrospective will showcase 110 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and a screening of the seldom-seen 1976 film “Gabriel” by 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 Martin’s first work to become part of a museum collection.
At this point, this is the only collaboration that COS has planned with the museum, a COS spokeswoman said.