Luis Cruz Azaceta at the Acadiana Center for the Arts

About the artist

Luis Cruz Azaceta was born in Havana, Cuba in 1942 and currently lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a teenager he witnessed many acts of violence on the streets of Havana: bombs in stores, cinemas and theaters; shoot-outs, arrests and torture of citizens by Batista secret police. In 1959, the Cuban revolution brought jubilation and celebration when Castro promised to restore Cuba’s constitution and free elections. Months later executions began, businesses were confiscated and some closed. Azaceta’s experiences under both Batista and post-revolution impacted his vision—creating a sensitivity towards violence, human cruelty, injustice and alienation—which later become central themes in his work.

Since the late 1970s the paintings and drawings of Luis Cruz Azaceta have been monitoring the moral and ethical pulse of this country. Azaceta’s large-format works, executed with highly expressive color, deals with themes of urban violence, the type of personal isolation that comes with living in a large and overcrowded city, the hellish conditions created by mismanaged government, the abuses and oppression of dictatorships and the ravages of AIDS.

Louisiana Mon Amour is an installation consisting of over 20 pieces that are constructed and reassembled objects with duct tape as a common denominator to “tie, fix, patch, and put together” all the fragmentations of post-Katrina, the BP oil spill and all the catastrophes endured that have devastated our cities, lives and culture. Simultaneously, this work celebrates human resilience and the determination to see beauty and possibilities in the destruction.

Both Shifting States: Egypt and Shifting States: Iraq relate to the rapid state of change we see in the world at large. Climatic changes, collapsing economies, greed, war and revolution, are points where individual citizens are rising up against political, economic and social injustices. Azaceta celebrates this process of shift. There is courage, faith and innovation in mapping a new terrain.

Other works included in this exhibition belong to the series Museum Plans. These paintings present large monolithic black structures that serve as a visual container for aspects of the culture. In this series homage to writers, inventors, architects, musicians and cities are addressed. Museum Plans hold our fragments, history and vision.

Luis Cruz Azaceta’s work has been featured in more than 100 solo exhibitions in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. He has received numerous awards and grants, including the National Endowment for the Arts, The Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Grant, The Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, Pollock/Krasner Grant, Penny McCall, and New York Foundation for the Arts, Mid-Atlantic Grant for Special Projects and the Cintas Foundation.

Azaceta’s work can be seen in numerous museum collections, some of which include: The Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museo De Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Museo De Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela, Atrium Museo De Arte Contemporaneo, Victoria Gasteoz, Spain and Museo De Arte Contemporaneo De Monterrey, Mexico.

“I wanted to create a gumbo of work for this show–one that touches upon a number of different series but it is tied together by fragmentation. I think the boundaries between works are fluid in that there is a relationship to things coming apart and an effort to piece them together–whether it is political, social, cultural or environmental.”

-Luis Cruz Azaceta

More information at The Acadiana Center for the Arts