Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez

Born: 17 August 1923

Field: painting, design

Nationality: Venezuelan

Art Movement: Kinetic art, Op Art

Influences Cloud: Josef Albers

Carlos Cruz-Diez is a Venezuelan kinetic and op artist. He lives in Paris. He has spent his professional career working and teaching between both Paris and Caracas. His work is represented in museums and public art sites internationally. He is represented by two American galleries: Sicardi Gallery in Houston, Texas, and Moka Gallery in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1957, he returned to Venezuela and worked at his studio, Estudio de Artes Visuales, and started investigating the role of color in kinetic art. He also worked as a graphic designer for the Education Ministry publications, Caracas. During 1958-1960, he served as the Assistant Director and Professor at the Caracas School of Fine Arts. In 1965, Cruz-Diez the Centre culturel Noroit, Arras, France, as a graphic designer. During 1972-73, he taught Kinetic Techniques at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris and Universite d'Enseignement et de Recherches. From 1986 to 1993, he was the Titular Professor and Director of the Art Unit of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IDEA), Caracas.

During Cruz-Diez's time in school, he studied the work of Georges Seurat and Josef Albers, both artists who experimented with color relationships, aesthetics and perception. While in Europe, he was not only influenced by the Art Movements, he also was influenced by the European surrounding, particularly the plant life, which differed so much from the plant life in his native Venezuela. Cruz-Diez is often associated with two Venezuelan Kinetic Artists, Jesus Soto and Alejandro Otero. All three artists share aesthetic similarities in structure and form, and are considered to have secured Venezuela’s position in the international art world. Although Cruz-Diez arrived in Paris ten years after Soto, their national and artistic connections are apparent.

Although Cruz-Diez's career was spent between Caracas and Paris, the political unrest and development in Venezuela directly affected his career. Venezuela existed under dictatorship for decades, with Juan Vincente Gomez from 1908 until his death in 1935. His rule influenced the academic art institutions, with little room for growth of the Venezuelan avant-garde. His successor, Eleazar Lopez Contreras changed the artistic climate by supporting study of artists such as Cezanne and other European Modernist painters. After World War II several Venezuelan artists were able to study abroad, often in Paris. The new challenges faced by the development of modernity presented a receptive audience for Cruz-Diez, which allowed for a break in the traditional artists of Venezuela.The new cultural climate, which was receptive to the Kinetic Artist, was directly linked to the new technological advancements represented by the Kinetic artists. Cruz-Diez’s Op Art became popular with the political elite, often because the art lacked any political message.

Throughout his career Cruz-Diez has focused on four types of self-defined op art Categories: Physichoromies, Choromointerferences, Chromosaturations, and Transchromies.

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Op Art

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abstract painting


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