Federico Herrero

A large wall features a prominent, colorful mural. Light shining from windows casts colorful shadows on the floor.
Installation view, Atrium Project: Federico Herrero, MCA Chicago, Aug 11, 2018–Apr 21, 2019. Work shown: Alphabet, 2018. Paint and window film. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

About

In Alphabet, a site-specific commission for the MCA atrium, Costa Rican artist Federico Herrero (b. 1978) paints the museum’s second-floor entrance with his characteristic color blocks to create a large, abstract landscape. Jumping from the atrium wall to the facade windows, the mural offers an immersive experience that—similar to a real landscape—dramatically changes with the shifting seasons.

Herrero sees his paintings, which range from small canvases to monumental urban spaces, as open-ended landscapes that are never finished, always growing and morphing into something new. In a sense, these works grow beyond the canvas or vertical wall and make their way to the horizontal surfaces of the floor and ceiling, extending his abstract color fields into urban spaces and public life.

Alphabet is organized by José Esparza Chong Cuy, Pamela Alper Associate Curator. It can be seen from the MCA’s public plaza and second-floor atrium.

Installation images

  • The MCA Atrium features a prominent, colorful mural on multiple walls. Colored panels on the windows create colorful shadows on the floor.
  • The MCA Atrium features a prominent, colorful mural on multiple walls.
  • A window looking out on a park and the Chicago skyline has four brightly colored splotches of yellow, orange, and blue.
  • The MCA Atrium features a prominent, colorful mural on the walls and spots of illuminated color on the floor.
The MCA Atrium features a prominent, colorful mural on multiple walls. Colored panels on the windows create colorful shadows on the floor.
Installation view, Atrium Project: Federico Herrero, MCA Chicago, Aug 11, 2018–Apr 21, 2019. Work shown: Alphabet, 2018. Paint and window film. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
  1. Long A street in front of a park surrounded by high-rise buildings is visible through a window with four panes of glass. There is a series of colorful, transparent ovals and polygons on the window, tinting the street, trees, and buildings with randomly dispersed pops of yellow, green, purple, and orange color. The purple and orange shapes overlap with one another in the upper right, creating a new shade of red at the intersection.
Installation view, Atrium Project: Federico Herrero, MCA Chicago, Aug 11, 2018–Apr 21, 2019. Work shown: Alphabet, 2018. Paint and window film. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
The MCA Atrium features a prominent, colorful mural on multiple walls.
Installation view, Atrium Project: Federico Herrero, MCA Chicago, Aug 11, 2018–Apr 21, 2019. Work shown: Alphabet, 2018. Paint and window film. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
A window looking out on a park and the Chicago skyline has four brightly colored splotches of yellow, orange, and blue.
Installation view, Atrium Project: Federico Herrero, MCA Chicago, Aug 11, 2018–Apr 21, 2019. Work shown: Alphabet, 2018. Paint and window film. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
The MCA Atrium features a prominent, colorful mural on the walls and spots of illuminated color on the floor.
Installation view, Atrium Project: Federico Herrero, MCA Chicago, Aug 11, 2018–Apr 21, 2019. Work shown: Alphabet, 2018. Paint and window film. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.