¡Felicidades Carmen Herrera! Celebrating a Living Legend

Carmen Herrera, “Red on Red (Rojo sobre Rojo)” (1959), oil and acrylic on canvas (all images courtesy of El Museo del Barrio)

Since at least the late 1940s, Carmen Herrera has been turning the art world on its head with her signature style of geometric abstraction. The centenarian, Cuban-born artist (who turns 105 on May 30) is best known for her hard-edge abstractions. As Herrera herself once stated, “I believe that I will always be in awe of the straight line, its beauty is what keeps me painting.” Through their exacting compositions, Herrera’s paintings push viewers to grapple with color and form in novel, delightful ways. Large-scale works like “Blanco y Verde” (1959), “Irlanda” (1965), and “Red on Red (Rojo sobre Rojo)” (1959) are crisp yet inviting for their striking, illusory possibilities and position the artist as one who remains squarely ahead of her time. (Her work predates both the Op Art and Minimalism movements, and sheds new light on ways in which artists were adopting elements of Concrete art into their own diverse practices.)

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