The much anticipated Carmen Herrera designed mural, Uno Dos Tres, was unveiled today (November 5, 2020) in East Harlem’s JHS99, which houses semi-autonomous ‘mini-schools.’ Through the spring and summer of 2020, the artist worked with the nonprofit Publicolor to install the 54-foot wide by 17-foot tall artwork, which was meant to be installed last May in celebration of Herrera’s 105th birthday.
The artist passed away, a year later on February 13, 2022 at the age of 106. She passed away in her loft in Lower Manhattan that had been her home for sixty years.
“I am proud to offer this image to Spanish Harlem and particularly proud that Publicolor students, so many of them Spanish-speaking like me, will be creating this,” Herrera said. “I selected several images and then reduced my choices to one that would best suit the specific site and, most importantly, that would challenge and motivate the students who are making it.”
JHS99 includes Manhattan East Middle School, a school where visual art, music and dance are an important part of the curriculum, and so it was a perfect location for famed Cuban-born artist, Carmen Herrera to gift her design, ‘Diagonal’ (1987) to be recreated as a mural on the occasion of her 105th birthday. JHS99 also includes Academy of Environmental Sciences Secondary School.
The new mural is titled “uno Dos Tres” and be an exact replica of her painting ‘Diagonal.’ It will be painted on an outdoor wall, visible from the FDR at 100th Street. Her hope is that it will inspire creativity in the middle-school students. JHS99 is located at 410 East 100th Street, NYC.
In 1998, El Museo del Barrio became the first institution to present a major survey of the artists work as part of the 1998 FOCOS exhibition, Carmen Herrera: The Black and White Paintings 1951-1989, organized by former curator Carolina Ponce de León. Herrera was later ‘discovered’ and exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2016. On the occasion of Herrera’s 105th birthday, El Museo hosted an In Conversation with the artist. We are invited to watch the YouTube video below.
The discussion, moderated by Susanna Temkin, curator, El Museo del Barrio, featured Tony Bechara, artist, and long-time friend of Herrera’s; Carolina Ponce de Leon, former El Museo curator; and Monica Espinel, independent curator, and author of the chronology for Herrera: Lines of Sight for the 2016-2017 exhibition at the Whitney.
Carmen Herrera had a major installation in 2019 in City Hall Park, with her installation, Carmen Herrera: Estructuras Monumentales, curated by Public Art Fund.
Take a look at Herrera’s extraordinary career on Galerie.
and the short YouTube video, Dana Miller on Carmen Herrera: Lines of Site (at age 101).