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In Memory of Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez at Americas Society in 2008. (Image: Arturo Sánchez)

Carlos Cruz-Diez at Americas Society in 2008. (Image: Arturo Sánchez)

July 29, 2019

Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) lament the passing of Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, one of Latin America’s Kinetic Art masters, on July 27 in Paris. He was 95 years old.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and artist, Carlos Cruz-Diez,” says AS/COA President and CEO Susan Segal. “I am honored the Americas Society was able to present his first solo show in the United States over a decade ago and I’m proud to share the pieces of his work hanging in my office with the many guests who pass through. He has no doubt left an indelible mark in the global art world.”

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Cromosaturación Americas Society, 2008. Installation by Carlos Brillembourg. (Image: Arturo Sánchez)

The Caracas-born Cruz-Diez was an important friend to the Americas Society Visual Arts program, which exhibited his work three times over the years. The Americas Society hosted Cruz-Diez’s first solo show in the United States in 2008, Carlos Cruz-Diez: (In)formed by Color, which brought him “renewed prominence.” The show featured Cromosaturación Americas Society, a site-specific environment designed by the artist for Americas Society’s gallery. Estrellita Brodsky curated the exhibit, assisted by Isabela Villanueva.

(In)formed held personal import for the artist. “For me, art and life have been one single thing. And art is for the people,” said Cruz-Diez in 2008 at the Americas Society. “Every artist, as much as he might say he works for himself, implicitly is for others. And that is how I've conceived of all of my work: participatory.”

The Americas Society exhibited his work again in 2014 with Within the Light Trap: Carlos Cruz-Diez in Black and White, an exhibition of never-before-seen black and white photography and paintings that reflect Cruz-Diez’s early approach to realism nurtured by political and aesthetic debates undertaken by Venezuelan artists after the Second World War. The exhibition was curated by Gabriela Rangel and assisted by Christina De León.

Cruz-Diez’s works first appeared at the Americas Society in 1987 as part of The First America: Selections from the Nancy Sayles Day Collection of Latin American Art exhibition.

Americas Society awarded Cruz-Diez its Gold Medal in 2011. The Gold Medal is the organization’s highest honor, recognizing the recipients for their leadership and contributions to the worldwide business community, commitment to social and environmental responsibility, and active involvement with art and education initiatives across the Americas. Cruz-Diez donated his piece Physichromie No. 1601 to the Americas Society Visual Arts Endowment Benefit hosted by Christie’s in 2013.

Americas Society/Council of the Americas offer their sincerest condolences to the family of Mr. Cruz-Diez.