Mexican conceptual artist and curator Carla Herrera-Prats, whose archival and aesthetic research focused on dynamics of the gift economy, labor theory, and their affective and technical modes of cultural expression, has died of complications due to breast cancer. She was forty-six. Born in Mexico City in 1973, Herrera-Prats earned her BFA at the city’s Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado (“La Esmeralda”) and her MFA in photography at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles. She was a Whitney Independent Study Program fellow in New York, and in the last decade served as director and board member of the SOMA Summer program in Mexico City.
Invested in institutional solidarity, critical pedagogy, and a collaborative ethos, Herrera-Prats made work with Anthony Graves as Camel Collective, which they cofounded in 2010. She also taught at Columbia University, the Cooper Union, CalArts, Harvard University, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her art—which often examined relationships between text and image through photography, sculpture and performance—has been exhibited at numerous institutions, including Centro de la Imagen, Museo Dolores Olmedo, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), and Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros in Mexico City; as well as Artists Space, Art in General, and SculptureCenter in New York.
“I hope the work gets them to think not only about immigration and labor, but also . . . what happens with objects of art once they live the gallery space,” she once said in an interview with LatinArt. “I hope that the project will allow a reflection upon who constitutes a worker and the audience’s own relation with labor. I think that today defining the working class is harder than ever: Work itself has become so fragmented and has overtaken all aspects of life.”