The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Marginal Costs, the first solo museum exhibition of New York-based artist Lucia Hierro (b. 1987). Hierro’s practice, which includes sculpture, digital media, and installation, confronts twenty-first-century capitalism through an intersectional lens. Appropriating imagery that ranges from commerce to art history, Hierro’s choices manifest her own multidimensional experience as a Dominican American artist raised in Washington Heights, and now based in Brooklyn. Marginal Costs will be on view at The Aldrich from June 7, 2021, through January 2, 2022.
With a studio methodology steeped in Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and European still life painting, as well as her own biographical circumstance, Hierro’s work surveys power, individuality, and opportunity specific to the communities she orbits. Lifting visual matter off the street and media outlets, she expresses subjective storylines that speak to the elasticity of identity—a symptom of our hyperkinetic presence. Conceived in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition spans work from three distinctive series: recent and new sculptures from the Mercado (Market) series, 2014–; the debut of the Gates, 2021–; as well as her most ambitious wall mural to date—both specially commissioned by The Aldrich.
Scale is a primary preoccupation and a predominant feature of this exhibition. The Mercado sculptures are composed out of Poly Organdy fabrics, felt, and hard-celled foam, and sewn with the assistance of the artist’s mother. See-through and life-sized, they impersonate the ubiquitous tote and bodega bags that saturate our urban landscape. Stuffed with digitally printed objects—popular Dominican foods, trendy merchandise, cultural souvenirs, and collectibles—each bag embodies an individualized storyline that intersects race, class, and gender.
The monumentality of Hierro’s murals riffs on billboard advertising as they envelop and ensnare their onlookers. Her newest mural, titled after the show, Marginal Costs, includes imagery based on photographs taken in her neighborhoods before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Composed out of vinyl decals applied directly to bold expanses of the wall color, this impactful cast of giant floating signifiers includes diaspora descriptors—Presidente beer, a Dominican street vendor, and El Especialito newsstand—alongside visual markers of the epidemic’s impact, a shuttered storefront, “for lease” sign, and sidewalk memorial.
The Gates is a new sculptural installation that recreates a familiar vernacular feature of New York City: wrought iron gates. Hierro’s Gates bisects the gallery, physically confronting the room’s architecture and corralling visitors. Jammed with supermarket circulars, bygone markers of human necessity, the Gates personify the collective wake of escalating gentrification.
Lucia Hierro (b. 1987) received a BFA from SUNY Purchase in 2010 and an MFA from Yale School of Art in 2013. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, and Elizabeth Dee Gallery, all in New York; Casa Quién, Santo Domingo; the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles; Sean Horton (presents), Dallas, TX; and most recently a solo show at Primary Projects, Miami. Residencies include Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY; Redbull Arts, Detroit; Fountainhead Residency, Miami; Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Market program, Bronx, NY; and Casa Quién, Santo Domingo. Her work is in public collections including JP Morgan Chase, Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes, the Perez Art Museum, and the Rennie Collection, Vancouver. Hierro lives and works in New York City.
With an essay by Amy Smith-Stewart, the artist’s first museum publication, the exhibition’s curator will accompany the show.