The 100 Years Show 2015
Distributed by Grasshopper Films, 12 East 32nd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Produced by Allison Klayman, Julie Goldman, Brett Rattner
Directed by Allison Klayman
DVD , color, 88 min.
Middle School - General Adult
Artists, Contemporary Art, Discrimination, Aging
Date Entered: 08/17/2017Reviewed by Barbara J. Walter, Longmont Public Library, Longmont, CO
From architecture studies in Cuba to New York Art Students League to Le Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris, Carmen’s life has spanned continents and art movements, and demonstrates a persistent devotion to her work. She was a pioneer and a peer of many male artists who received great recognition in their time.
The 100 Years Show website
Brimming with joie de vivre, The 100 Years Show is a captivating portrait of Cuban-born American minimalist painter Carmen Herrera who, after seven decades’ work, finally receives well-deserved recognition as a pioneer in contemporary art.
Director Allison Klayman (Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry (2012), The Night Witch(2013)) keeps the pace brisk, following the 98-year-old artist through a typical day as she plans and executes paintings with help from a personal assistant. Klayman employs family photos and newsreel footage along with interviews with friends and caregivers, fellow artists, gallery owners and museum curators to trace the arc of Herrera’s life and artistic career.
Lack of recognition, explains one interviewee, gave Herrera a certain kind of freedom. While her contemporaries Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly gained worldwide recognition, Herrera was refused gallery space simply because she was a woman and of Cuban descent. Herrera’s spare, minimal esthetic actually anticipated an approach to art that was to come later; some historians credit her with anticipating the entire minimalist art movement.
And as Herrera says, “Less is more”-- the film supplies a fully-rounded portrait of the artist and her work, yet is short enough to screen and discuss in a class period. Highly recommended for academic libraries supporting coursework in studio art, art history, and the social sciences, The 100 Years Show is also a great choice for public libraries. Herrera’s persistent devotion to her art, despite decades of obscurity, is truly inspiring.
Awards: Winner, Best Documentary Short at the following competitions: Ashland Independent Film Festival, Heartland Film Festival, Riverrun International Film Festival, Ozark Foothills Filmfest, Docutah International Film Festival.