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Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez

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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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Carlos Cruz-Diez (born August 17, 1923 in Caracas) is a Venezuelan artist considered to be one of the greatest artistic innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries. He is believed to be one of the fathers and greatest figures of kinetic and op art, and has been called a 'master of color' and line, adept at creating fluid, participatory visual experiences. His work invites philosophical conversation on ontology and perception.

His body of work has established him as one of the key 20th-century thinkers in the realm of color. Cruz-Diez’s research has contributed to a new way of understanding color phenomena in art, greatly expanding its perceptual universe. In his works, Cruz-Diez shows that through interaction with the viewer, color becomes an autonomous, evolving reality, devoid of anecdotes, which develops in real time and space.

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, such as Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Tate Modern, London; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Centre Pompidou, París; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Colonia, and others. He is represented by three American galleries: Sicardi Gallery in Houston, Texas, Moka Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, and Maxwell Davidson Gallery in New York City.

Cruz-Diez was born in Caracas, Venezuela.

Cruz-Diez attended the School of Plastic and Applied Arts in Caracas in 1940 and received a degree in art education and manual arts in 1945.

From 1944 to 1945 he worked as a publications designer for Creole Petroleum Corporation. From 1946 through 1951 Cruz-Diez was art director at the McCann Erickson Advertising Agency in Caracas and New York in 1947.

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. During 1959–60, he also taught Typographie and Graphic Design at the School of Journalism, Central University of Venezuela, Caracas. 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 Unité d'enseignement et de recherche. From 1973 to 1980, he served as a member of the jury for diploma of École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. 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. (concepts of art) He could have, quite possibly been drawn to the variance in color and form. Cruz-Diez is often associated with two Venezuelan Kinetic Artists, Jesús Rafael 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.

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Carlos Cruz-Diez Artworks
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