How 100-Year Old Artist Carmen Herrera Stays Sharp


The Cuban centenarian with a new show at Lisson Gallery runs on café con leche, Stephanie Eckardt reports for W Magazine.

This May is a big month for Carmen Herrera. On Tuesday, the abstract painter is inaugurating the new Lisson Gallery outpost in New York with a solo show, and a few weeks later, she’s turning no less than 101 years old. Born in Havana in 1915, Herrera’s only about a decade into mainstream recognition of her painting, though she’s been at it for nearly 80 years. (“If you wait for the bus, the bus will come,” she’s said about her late-breaking fame.) Stretching up to five feet wide, her newest works are ambitious as ever, and give a taste of what’s to come in her survey at the Whitney Museum of Art this September. How does she do it all? To start, with café con leche at the Manhattan studio she’s lived and worked in since 1954.


First thing you do in the morning:
Café con leche, toast, butter and jam, orange juice, and work …

Books on your bedside table right now:
The London Times Literary Supplement; recently, I have been struggling with Albert Camus.

Last piece of art you bought, or ogled:
Zurbarán‘s monastery paintings seen in situ … in my mind’s eye.

Best new poet you’ve read recently:
Emily Dickinson is as modern as I have gotten, but occasionally I look at my old friend Louis Zukofsky.

How you get your news:
I watch the news from Spain on the TV and read the Sunday New York Times all week…

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