Carmen Cicero was born in 1926 in Newark, NJ. He attended the local university starting in 1947 and later earned an MFA and taught at Montclair State University, NJ, 1970-2001. His career spans over six decades, originating from his solo exhibition at the historic Peridot Gallery, New York, where he exhibited abstract expressionist paintings through 1969. His early influence arose from studying under Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell at Hunter College, New York, along with inspiration from his circle of artists, poets, and jazz musicians. He is also an avid saxophonist with several original jazz compositions. In 1971, Cicero moved to the Bowery after a fire devastated his studio in Englewood, NJ and became familiar with the flophouses and homeless men which changed his style permanently.
Cicero’s artwork is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Harvard Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and Provincetown Art Association and Museum, MA. He is the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and a Lifetime Achievement awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.