Four major works shown together for the first time in museum's meadow

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Four major works shown together for the first time in museum's meadow
Carmen Herrera: Estructuras Monumentales installed at the Parrish Art Museum © Estate of Carmen Herrera; Photo Image: Courtesy Parrish Art Museum and Vision Maker Productions Inc.

WATER MILL, NY.- The Parrish Art Museum announced the arrival of significant works by Carmen Herrera (American, b. Cuba, 1915-2022) in the Museum’s South Meadow. Opening on May 25, the exhibition, Carmen Herrera: Estructuras Monumentales will feature four large-scale structures in bold colors, offering visitors an immersive experience of Herrera's hard-edged work. The outdoor sculptures, first envisioned by Herrera in the 1960’s as sketches and paintings, with the idea of the works eventually becoming sculptures, will be on view through December 8, 2024. The sculptures will be placed in the Museum’s South Meadow to be enjoyed from afar by passersby on Montauk Highway and on Meadow pathways for Museum visitors to experience up close.

These significant sculptures, from the Estate of Carmen Herrera, represent the culmination of Herrera's lifelong artistic journey. Herrera, who gained international recognition late in life, died in 2022 at the age of 106, her legacy lives on through her groundbreaking creations as an abstract painter and sculptor. The vibrant, powerful structures-- Angulo Azul (2017), Angulo Amarillo (2017), Estructura Verde (1966/2018), and Gemini (Red) (1971/2019) have been meticulously brought to life after she first envisioned them in the 1960s. In 1971, Herrera fabricated four Estructuras in wood—three wall-based works and one free-standing. However, it was only in the final fifteen years of the artist’s life that she was able to realize her vision for these monumental sculptures on a larger scale. The Estructuras series at the Parrish provides visitors an opportunity to view the acrylic and aluminum works the way Herrera imagined them—each piece fabricated to her exact color and shape standards.

The Estructuras incorporate a major aspect of Herrera’s life and identity as a Cuban American. The original sketches for Estructura Verde and Gemini (Red) are dated to 1966 and 1971, respectively, while the chevron shape of Angulo Amarillo and Angulo Azul is a more recent composition from 2017. Like her iconic dichromatic paintings, Herrera’s Estructuras play on the relationship between positive and negative space. The sharp, wedge-shaped cutouts emphasize the contrast of the sculptures’ bold, monochromatic forms against the surrounding environment. Herrera created designs for her Estructuras series during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Herrera and her husband, Jesse Lowenthal, assisted friends and family in escaping the conflict. Through her art, Herrera grappled with complex themes of belonging, and resilience; inviting viewers to engage with her lived experiences.

“The Parrish has a proud history of celebrating women abstractionists who have shaped the course of art history. With Carmen Herrera: Estructuras Monumentales, the Museum continues this tradition, offering visitors a rare opportunity to experience the brilliance of Herrera's visionary work," said Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, Executive Director, Parrish Art Museum. “It has been a dream of mine to be able to provide Carmen Herrera’s Estructuras the incomparable backdrop of the Parrish’s Meadow and it’s thrilling that our donors embraced this vision, and the Museum team made this a reality for everyone on the East End to enjoy.”

When the Parrish Art Museum moved to the Herzog & de Meuron designed building in 2012 the galleries extended to the outdoors and the Museum meadows were activated with work that engages and responds to the setting’s architecture and landscape. Herrera’s Estructuras join a number of remarkable sculptures in the Meadow, including, Roy Lichtenstein’s Tokyo Brushstrokes, on long-term loan from Glenn Fuhrman, all of which enliven the grounds with an incredible backdrop for performances, events, and programming at the Parrish.

Born in Cuba in 1915, Herrera moved to Paris after World War II, where she spent the early part of her career. She settled permanently in New York in 1954 and lived there until her death in 2022. Herrera has been recognized as a leading voice in the abstract and minimalist movements. She trained at the Art Students League, New York, NY, (1942–43), before exhibiting five times at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France (1949–53). Herrera’s work was the subject of a large-scale survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY in 2016.

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