Carmen Herrera: Art Without Lies

Claire Messud writes: ‘When Carmen Herrera is asked to explain her paintings in Alison Klayman’s film about her life and work, “The 100 Years Show (2015),” she says, “If I could put those things in words, I wouldn’t do the painting. I would tell you…Usually artists are not the best people to talk about art. I think it’s a great mistake. You cannot talk about art—you have to art about art.” Herrera, now 101 years old, has spent the better

part of a century doing just that.

For most of that time, the world paid scant attention to her “arting”: only in the last decade has she been granted the attention she should by rights have received half a century ago. As a Cuban, as a woman, she found little public support in the New York art world. Reluctant to be classified by national origin or gender, she struggled to find a place, but continued to produce work, prolifically, for decades: “I kept going,” she says in Klayman’s film. “I couldn’t stop.”’

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