f you were to walk through Facebook’s Menlo Park,
California, headquarters you would come to a stair-
case where you would become intimately involved
in the illusionistic world of Robert Minervini’s art.
Beginning at the bottom of the stairs, facing the rocks
of the shore, you would ascend through a view of the bay
and the city beyond upward to the underside of freeways.
Descending from the top, the illusion is of being able
to walk out along the freeway rather than down the
stairs. In the 40-by-50-foot acrylic, Sinking Cities, 2014,
the human intrusion on the pristine bay is inescapable
both visually and viscerally. Later this year, another of
his concepts will be reproduced in a 9-by-31-foot mosaic
and glass mural permanently installed in SFO Terminal
1, a project of the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Minervini, who was born in Secaucus, New Jersey,
went to Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, spending a
year in Rome. While attending Tyler he was first hired
as an intern and later produced his own projects with
the Philadelphia Mural Art Program. “The murals had
a great impact on my work,” he says.
“I was classically influenced as an undergrad,” he
explains. “In Rome I was able to continue my interest
in Baroque painting and, especially, Baroque theater
painting. When I returned I was surprised to experi-
ence a culture shock. I wanted to simulate that experi-
ence of being out of my element a bit and having to
find new bearings and chose to go to grad school at
the San Francisco Art Institute.” He received his MFA
there in 2009.
In California, he has also been involved in creating
murals and has been artist in residence at the Kala Art
Institute in Berkeley, Root Division in San Francisco
and Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito. He has
Robert Minervini’s debut solo show at Hirschl & Adler Modern
explores the past and present of still lifes. BY JOHN O’HERN
Robert Minervini in
his studio with Surface
Tension. Courtesy the
artist and Hirschl & Adler
acrylic on linen, 42 x 62".
Courtesy the artist and
Hirschl & Adler Modern,
NY. Photo © Cary