By Joshua Barone - Last year the Whitney Museum of American Art gave what was widely considered a long-overdue debut exhibition to the painter Carmen Herrera, who turns 102 next Wednesday. This year, she is taking her art to another institution, albeit a more humble one: M.S. 244, in the Bronx.
Through the program Publicolor — which gives at-risk students opportunities to take part in design projects in their schools — students at M.S. 244 will paint a mural designed by Ms. Herrera based on her 1952 work “Untitled,” part of the collection at the Museum of Modern Art.
“It is a joy for me that my work will be in a public school and even more so that it will be actually painted by the students,” Ms. Herrera, a Cuban-born painter who has been based in New York since the 1950s, said in a statement.
Ms. Herrera’s show at the Whitney, “Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight,” was just one chapter in the artist’s recent celebrity, largely tied to her centenary. That exhibition, which covered the same time period in which “Untitled” was painted, revisited the postwar years in which she developed her style of simple, Constructivist-like abstractions.
This is the first time Publicolor has collaborated with a living artist. In 2015, it worked with the estate of Sol LeWitt, which donated two murals that students painted at the High School of Fashion Industries, in Chelsea.
Students will paint the mural on June 3, though Publicolor works with the students long before and afterward, with an eye toward preparing underserved students for college, Ruth Lande Shuman, the organization’s founder, said in a statement.
“Ms. Herrera’s involvement is a generous gift to the whole community,” she added. “Our goal is to bring the power of visual beauty to communities who experience little of it.”