The U.S. French Embassy announced today that sculptor Carl Andre and gallerist Paula Cooper were honored with France’s Order of Arts and Letters, given to those who make significant contributions to French arts and culture. Andre was named commandeur of the Order; Cooper, who had previously been named a chevalier in 2002, was promoted to officier.
Andre is recognized as one of the most important American Minimalist artists. His work, which often takes the form of wooden blocks laid out in grids, has been shown at Cooper’s New York gallery since 1968, when it appeared in the gallery’s first exhibition, a benefit show for students protesting the Vietnam War. Paula Cooper Gallery began representing Andre in 1978, and continues to do so today. (Andre’s work is currently on view in the gallery’s group show “The Xerox Book.”) Next year, Andre’s Dia:Beacon retrospective will travel to Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Cooper first opened her eponymous gallery in New York in 1968, in SoHo. Since then, she has moved to Chelsea and come to represent important Minimalists, Conceptualists, and contemporary mid-career artists, such as Sophie Calle, Christian Marclay, and Walid Raad. Two of Cooper’s artists have done work for the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale—Calle, in 2007, and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, at this year’s biennial.
“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,” Cultural Counselor Bénédicte de Montlaur said in a statement. “As a team and as individuals, you have transformed art and the way the public encounters art.”