Carmen Cicero

United States

Carmen Cicero is an American painter who lives and works in the Bowery in New York City. His early abstract expressionist works garnered mainstream attention, and led to his first solo exhibition at the Peridot Gallery on Madison Avenue in 1957, later going on to have work shown at MoMa, the Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum, among many others. In 1971, all of Carmen’s possessions and his life’s work were lost in a tragic fire at his Englewood studio. In the aftermath, his paintings took on more of his own personality, moving in a humorous, surrealist direction, and he’s been in the courageous process of rebuilding and re-finding his artistic identity ever since. Filmmaker Codi Barbini serendipitously met Carmen in 2015, and the pair developed an immediate connection. We commissioned Codi to make Eternity’s Sunrise, a short film that allowed Carmen to reflect on his story, and gave a heartwarming insight into his mind at the ripe old age of 93. The accompanying text on WePresent saw Codi and Carmen’s wife Mary provide insight into his personality and his near-century of artistry.

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It’s funny; painting’s one of the few things I can do even when I don’t feel good.