press release


The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents a site-specific commission by Costa Rican artist Federico Herrero for the museum's two-story atrium. With Herrero's characteristic color blocks, Alphabet splashes bright colors onto the MCA entrance to create a large-scale, abstract landscape reminiscent of the tropical landscape in Central America. Alphabet flows down the atrium wall to the façade window to immerse the space with colored light that comes through the windows and changes as the day goes by. From summer through next spring, the mural can be experienced from inside the museum and from the MCA's front plaza, and like a real landscape, dramatically changes with the shifting weather conditions of the city. Alphabet is on view from August 11, 2018 to May 5, 2019 and is organized by MCA Associate Curator José Esparza.

Herrero's practice as a painter constantly shifts in scale, but his immersive landscapes are as impactful in small-sized canvases as they are in monumental urban spaces. His inviting, brightly hued landscapes of organic blocks of color often break free of their frames, growing beyond the canvas or wall to the horizontal surfaces on the floor and ceiling. Inspired by his observations of everyday Costa Rican life, Herrero is interested in extending his abstract color fields into urban space and public life. In this way, the artist sees his paintings as a continuous, open-ended landscape that is always growing, transgressing, and morphing into new forms.

ABOUT FEDERICO HERRERO Federico Herrero lives and works in San José, Costa Rica, where he was born. His work has been exhibited around the world, including the Saatchi Gallery in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, the Guggenheim in New York, Diablo Ross Gallery in Panama City, Art Basel in Switzerland and Miami, Watari Museum for Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and the Moscow Biennale. Recently, Herrero has had solo exhibitions at Sies + Höke in Düsseldorf, Galeria Luisa Strina in São Paulo, Proyectos Monclova in Mexico City, Sultana Galerie in Paris, and La Casa Encendida in Madrid. He received the Venice Biennale's Special Prize for a Young Artist in 2001, and studied painting at the Pratt Institute in New York from 1997 to 1998.


In Progress: Federico Herrero Tuesday, August 7, 5-5:30 pm, Free with museum admission Federico Herrero takes a break from painting Alphabet in the museum's second floor atrium to chat with exhibition curator José Esparza about the work and Herrero's practice, which involves making art in public spaces.