Thursday, December 22, 2016

Carmen Herrera and the world of blue chip artists

This year, at the age of 101, Herrera finally received recognition as a pioneer of 20th-century abstract painting. The Cuban-born, New York-based artist was celebrated in a major survey exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art this fall; a show of her new paintings christened Lisson Gallery’s New York space in the spring; and she featured in a full-length documentary released on Netflix in September—all of which served to land her name in the press and in the canon like never before. 
At the Whitney, “Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight” exposed the art world to her formative years, the period of 1948–1978, including many works that had never been on public view. Over these three decades she worked prolifically and ran among prominent artist circles in New York and Paris, with the likes of Josef Albers and Barnett Newman. And she honed her signature style—canvases filled with striking geometric shapes characterized by crisp lines, sharp angles, and bold shocks of color. “We can see in the works in ‘Lines of Sight’ that Herrera was thinking about the painting as an object—using panel divisions and the sides of canvases, and incorporating the surrounding environment—in the early 1950s,” says Whitney curator Dana Miller, who helmed Herrera’s exhibition there. “This is at the same time or before other artists, who have been previously heralded for such developments, first began to undertake similar experiments,” Miller adds. 
While the artist has been active in New York since 1954, and has been exhibited across the world since the 1930s, it was not until 2004 that she sold a work. She has been counted among key forces behind Latin America’s rich history of geometric abstraction, yet not until now has Herrera been properly lauded on the international art-world stage. As Miller put it, “Herrera was, and still is, an artist and a woman ahead of her time, and we are all just beginning to catch up to her.”
Read the above and the rest of The Most Influential Living Artists of 2016 - at least according to the editorial humanoids of Artsy here.

“Blanco y Verde.” Credit Carmen Herrera, Private Collection, New York        
Meanwhile at the New York Times:
At 101, the artist Carmen Herrera is finally getting the show the art world should have given her 40 or 50 years ago: a solo exhibition at a major museum in New York, where she has been living and working since 1954. The show, “Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight,” caps off several years of festivities, many of which have focused on the artist’s centenarian status, including a documentary film, “The 100 Years Show, Starring Carmen Herrera”; a spring exhibition of recent paintings at the Lisson Gallery in Chelsea; and numerous profiles hailing Ms. Herrera as a living treasure and praising her acerbic wit.

“Blue and Yellow” (1965). Credit Carmen Herrera, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden