It’s a brand-new day at Gucci. The vaunted Italian luxury house further cemented its complete aesthetic pivot under nascent creative director Sabato De Sarno by unveiling the refurbishment of its New York SoHo store, Gucci Wooster, over the weekend. It’s a testament to the brand’s devotion to De Sarno’s sleek, modern vision as well as a renewed, fortified push to position art as one of the brand’s key codes.
Surprisingly, there is nary a painting in sight. The curation rather focuses on video art with some sculpture. It’s a very plugged-in experience, and a retro-futuristic through-line pulsates across the venue. As luxury brands continue to flex their art portfolios in the retail realm, Gucci’s high-tech-meets-old-school edit cleverly sets it apart from other brands wielding high art as a merchandising lure.
De Sarno collaborated with the Milan-based Norwegian independent art advisor Truls Blaasmo to curate the 10,000-square-foot space. They assembled works by a spectrum of artists, ranging from Arte Povera legends to ultra-contemporary upstarts, including Autumn Knight, Larry Bell, Alghiero Boetti, and Sasha Stiles. Gucci sourced works from private collections and galleries such as Hauser & Wirth and Helly Nahmad.
Bell’s colored cubes are serenely perched atop white pedestals, the light passing through the glass structures and adding a prism effect to the ground. Taezoo Park, a Korean artist based in New York, has assembled Tower-1, a sculpture of outdated electronic equipment that looks like its components were sourced from the Crazy Eddie appliance outlet in the 1980s—the artist recently wrapped a solo show at the hip Bowery gallery Amanita. McLaren, a Canadian artist, presented hand-drawn 1970s video animations that flicker hypnotically, reminiscent of what might play on a television sets at 3 a.m. between broadcasts.
Most of the video works come with a sound component and an accompanying earpiece connected to the wall. Poet, artist, and A.I. researcher Sasha Stiles blends text and technology in her installation work REPETAE: Again, Again, a projection of scrawled generative poetry. “Instead the familiar refrain until you are forever changed,” the artwork was jotting across the wall on a recent visit.
Also on display on a large gleaming chrome shelf system was Ancora, the label’s accompanying art tome that corresponds to each new clothing collection.
Gucci Wooster is in a 155-year-old landmarked building, a former pencil factory, and vestiges of its old life remain apparent, from an intricately carved tile floor, to exposed brick walls and ornate tin ceiling. Contrasted with the remnants of yesteryear is a selection of modern Italian furniture, including Cassina armchairs and a sofa, and an elegant Minotti “Gladstone” table. Everything is dominated by the lush mustard carpeting which is becoming an unofficial Gucci motif, an ochre wave that has washed away the old codes and prior regime.
There are alos gleaming, pod-like Rosso Ancora-lacquered fitting rooms—the dark crimson is a signature of Gucci’s new direction—that bely the space age Zen of the interiors.
Guests can pop in to try on the lastest Gucci looks, or just peruse the art selection, which will be an ever-evolving exhibition.
Gucci Wooster is located at 63 Wooster Street in New York.
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