Arturo Herrera was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1959, he currently lives and works in Berlin. Over the last 20 years, Arturo Herrera has developed an internationally celebrated, multi-layered body of work—from collages, felt sculpture, public commissions, and wall paintings. His work often references the conflicted legacy of abstraction, utilising the modernist strategies of fragmentation and repetition. This becomes most noticeable with the use of found material and iconographic imagery from popular culture that meld into complex shapes, textures and colour palettes in his paintings and collages. Occupying the connection between legibility, figuration and abstraction, Herrera’s practice is notable for synthesising ready-made images and collage into ambiguous contexts. The layering of a non-linear narrative referencing contemporary images and modernism creates work that hovers between the explicit and implicit.
Herrera mines a wide variety of pictorial matter and niche source material—vintage colouring books, classical music programmes, museum postcards, flea market cookbooks, karate instruction manuals—and throws into question the legibility of flat abstract forms which have become universal iconography. This dislocation arises from the tension between specifically constructed images and the inability to fully reconcile the known with the unknown. As Herrera says: “For this reason, animated films and illustrations have been a rich source for my work. Their stylized, graphic qualities communicate the familiar in an effortless and immediate way that can also be pushed quickly into abstraction through fragmentation … my temporary painting and sculptural interventions in pre-existing architecture have utilized the tension between scale and the painted image to physically address the viewer in public spaces.”
Herrera’s work has been exhibited internationally, with selected solo exhibitions including: From This Day Forward, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, England (2021); Together (wall painting), The Bass Museum of Art, Miami FL (2020), HOP, Kunst-station im Hauptbahnhof, Wolfsburg, Germany (2018); Sortario (public project), Bloomberg European Headquarters, London, England (2017); Track (wall painting), OGR, Turin, Italy (2017); Half-time (wall painting), Tate Modern, London, England (2016); Opener 29 Arturo Herrera: Day Before, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, New York NY (2015); Adam (wall painting), Linda Pace Foundation, San Antonio TX (2013); Band (wall painting), NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale FL (2011); Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, England (2007); Hammer Project: Arturo Herrera, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles CA (2001); Before We Leave, Whitney Museum of Art, New York NY (2001).
His work appeared in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Herrera has been the recipient of many awards including a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Fellowship and The Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Selected public collections include: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco CA; Boston Museum of Art, Boston MA; Miami Art Museum, Miami FL; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago IL; Museum of Modern Art, New York NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY; Tate Modern, London UK; Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, Germany; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles CA; Dallas Art Museum, Dallas TX, among others.