Carl Andre and Paula Cooper Honored with France’s Highest Cultural Distinction

They were admitted to France’s Order of Arts and Letters.

Carl Andre has been represented by the Paula Cooper Gallery since 1978. Photo: areyouthereason.com
Paula Cooper opened her first gallery in SoHo, New York in 1968. Photo: westportartscenter.blogspot.com

Paula Cooper opened her first gallery in SoHo, New York in 1968.
Photo: westportartscenter.blogspot.com

The French Embassy in Washington D.C. announced on Wednesday that minimal artist Carl Andre and gallerist Paula Cooper were awarded France’s Order of Arts and Letters, the country’s highest distinction for contributions to French arts and culture.

Andre was honored with the highest rank of “commandeur” of the order, while Cooper, who was previously named a “chevalier” in 2002, was honored with a promotion to the intermediate rank of “officier.”

Carl Andre is regarded as one of the founders of the American minimal art movement of the late 1960s. His artworks often featured plain wooden blocks, steel plates, or bricks arranged in neat geometrical stacks on the gallery floor.

Carl Andre has been represented by the Paula Cooper Gallery since 1978. Photo: areyouthereason.com

Carl Andre has been represented by the Paula Cooper Gallery since 1978.
Photo: areyouthereason.com

Paula Cooper opened her first gallery in SoHo, New York in 1968. She was amongst the first dealers to promote American minimal and conceptual artists. Today, her program encompasses a variety of established and mid-career contemporary artists including Sol LeWitt, Mathias Faldbakken and Sophie Calle.

“The relationship between Carl Andre’s art and the Paula Cooper Gallery has helped bring both of you to the esteemed positions you hold in the art world,” French cultural counselor Bénédicte de Montlaur said in a statement. “As a team and as individuals, you have transformed the way the public encounters art.”

The artist and gallerist have been connected through a close working relationship since the start of Cooper’s career. The gallerist included Andre’s work in her first ever exhibition in 1968—a group show protesting the Vietnam war. A decade later, Cooper started representing Andre, a partnership that has endured to the present day.

A 'chevalier' medal. The award has three ranks; 'chevalier,' 'officier,' and 'commandeur.' Photo: Jude Bautista via ambafrance-ph.org

A “chevalier” medal. The award has three ranks: chevalier, officier, and commandeur.
Photo: Jude Bautista via ambafrance-ph.org

In fact, Andre’s work is part of the gallery’s current group show “The Xerox Book.” A recent retrospective of the artist’s work at the Dia Art Foundation, Beacon is scheduled to travel to Paris’ Musée d’Art Moderne next year.

Other American recipients of the award include photographer Nan Goldin and sculptor Richard Serra, who also received the French Legion of Honor award earlier this year.


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