Introduction to Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight
Dana Miller: Carmen Herrera is one of the most interesting artists of the twentieth century.
Narrator: Dana Miller, former Richard DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection at the Whitney Museum, organized Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight.
Dana Miller: She's still making work now in the twenty-first century at the age of 101, but this show focuses on her early work as a way to demonstrate the innovation she was making. Just how dynamic, creative, and important her early career was when she finally hit her stride.
Carmen Herrera: It took a long time until I hit on the hard-edged thing, which I love. Because I like straight lines. I like angles. I like order. In this chaos that we live in, I like to put some order. So that is why, I guess, I’m a hard-edged painter. And a geometric painter.
Dana Miller: By limiting herself, by narrowing it down to only what is most essential, she creates some of the most dynamic, eye-popping works of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.
Narrator: The paintings in this entry gallery—each named after a day of the week—give evidence of Herrera’s rigorous process of distillation. They’re from the 1970s—the endpoint of this exhibition’s story. The beginning goes back to 1915, when Herrera was born in Havana, Cuba. As a young woman, she studied painting, sculpture, and architecture. She married an American and moved to New York in 1939. After the Second World War, the couple moved to Paris. There, she made the earliest paintings in this exhibition. You can find them in the first gallery.
Carmen Herrera (b. 1915), Green and Orange, 1958. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 72 in. (152.4 x 182.9 cm). Collection of Paul and Trudy Cejas © Carmen Herrera; photograph by Chi Lam