Red is certainly not the only color Cubans express themselves with, however—a country with a famously colorful personality, Cuba embodies a wide-ranging palette in its lively architecture, people, cuisine, and vegetation. The artist Luis Cruz Azacata captures this vibrancy in his swirling, playful work, Swimming to Havana VIII. It’s easy to imagine the rainbow-streaked streets of Havana when looking at this artist’s oeuvre, so let this painting be a reminder for you to not miss out on the colorful experiences now available to you in Cuba.
Luis Cruz Azaceta is one of the most prolific, consistent artists. His works range from intimate drawings and monumental paintings, sculptures to intricate installations that convey the individual drama in contemporary global society. He has visualized with a critical eye a wide range of personal and social themes in his paintings.
While it may be best known for its vibrant music scene, New Orleans’ history of visual artists—painters, photographers, sculptors, video artists, and beyond—rivals that of any other city packed with sleek galleries and slick collectors. Though the local art community has lost some of its greatest inspirations in recent months—including George Dureau and George Rodrigue—the fierce passion of the city’s established and emerging artists continues to evolve and make NOLA a hotbed of creative activity. Here are 20 New Orleans Artists You Should Know.
Luis Cruz Azaceta: Dictators, Terrorism, War and Exiles explores the human impact of war and isolation. Newark, New Jersey—Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art is pleased to present Bending the Grid. Luis Cruz Azaceta: Dictators, Terrorism, War and Exiles, a major survey exhibition of paintings by a leading Cuban-American artist which explore the possibilities of formal experimentation with political and social issues. Redefining Expressionist painting into a humanist narrative, Cruz Azaceta bears witness to the impact of war and isolation. An opening reception, gallery walk and catalog signing will take place on January 23, 2014 from 6 to 9pm with the artist and curator Alejandro Anreus, PhD., Professor of Art and Latin American Studies, William Patterson University, NJ. Luis Cruz Azaceta was born in Havana, Cuba. As a teenager, he witnessed many acts of violence on the streets of Havana which created within him a sensitivity towards violence, human cruelty, injustice and alienation—later these became central themes in his work. At 18 years-old, Cruz Azaceta left Cuba for New Jersey then, New York City. In 1969 he graduated from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Cruz Azaceta’s “apocalyptic pop” style characterized his initial entry into the art world. By the end of the 1970s Cruz Azaceta was working in a highly personal vocabulary that synthesized bold colors and thick outlines. Today he is considered one of the great expressionists, utilizing the artform as a social and moral force.
Decisive Moments is drawn from the extensive, rich collection of 20th-century and contemporary photographs assembled over 40 years by Jim and Cherye Pierce, including works by Luis Cruz Azaceta, Dawn DeDeaux and Deborah Luster.
This fall saw the opening of not one but two solo shows by Luis Cruz Azaceta: Falling Sky, on view through December 15 at Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery in Santo Domingo, and Louisiana Mon Amour, on view through February 8 at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Louisiana. Concern for climate change, environmental disasters, and other upheavals (natural, social, and political) is a common thread running through both shows. Falling Sky presents a series of recent works under that title. Louisiana Mon Amour presents works from a thematically related series, Shifting States, as well as an earlier series, Museum Plans. The show’s title work is an installation of more than 20 objects, constructed and reassembled using duct tape—a metaphor for life after Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, and other environmental catastrophes.
Luis Cruz Azaceta: Louisiana Mon Amour at the Acadiana Center for the Arts – November 9, 2013 – February 8, 2014
It has been said, most famously by the 17th-century poet John Donne, that “No man is an island.” And while no doubt true in the philosophical sense that Donne intended, human history has largely been defined by the things that isolate and divide us as individuals and communities, not the least of which are the ideological and geographical divisions that confront us in everyday life. In ways both physical and metaphorical, Luis Cruz Azaceta has long been an artist of islands. Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1942, he emigrated to this country in 1960, where he studied at the School of Visual Arts and made a name for himself on another island, Manhattan, as he rose to prominence in the Neo-Expressionist movement of the 1970s and 1980s.
Change happens. That’s not news, but lately the pace seems to be picking up in often perplexing ways. Such is the proposition that propels Luis Cruz Azaceta in his Shifting States expo at Arthur Roger Gallery.
From CubanArtNews.org, January 9, 2012 Luis Cruz Azaceta in New Orleans. From collapsing economies to the consequences of climate change, the instability of global affairs has been, for many of us, a cause of alarm and despair. But for Luis Cruz Azaceta, it’s been a source of artistic inspiration—particularly the way individuals across the world…