Luis Cruz Azaceta: War And Other Disasters

Selected Works from 2002 - 2016
September 9 - December 17, 2016
Opening Reception, Friday, September 9 | 6 - 8 pm

Curated by Lisa Tamiris Becker
Director, Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts

Luis Cruz Azaceta’s potent work fuses geometric abstraction with socially conscious neo-expressionism to explore the violence and injustice of our time. The exhibition includes a selection of eighteen major canvases created between 2002 – 2016. Works on view cover topics ranging from the violence in Benghazi, Syria, and across the Middle East to disasters closer to home such as Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, and the 9/11 World Trade Tower attacks.

Luis Cruz Azaceta, Hell Act, 2009Luis Cruz Azaceta, "Hell Act," 2009; Acrylic, charcoal, pencil, shellac on canvas copy; 72 x 160 inches; Image courtesy of the artist

Luis Cruz Azaceta was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1942 and immigrated to the US at the age of eighteen. During his youth in Cuba, he witnessed the violence of multiple regimes first-hand, which laid the groundwork for his sensitivity to social and political issues as an artist. He studied art at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and became known for his powerful neo-expressionist works in the 1970s and 80s, with his first solo exhibition in New York City at the Allan Frumkin Gallery in 1975. Throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s his bold cartoon-influenced paintings, which chronicled both urban and international violence and injustice, often incorporated a wry wit. In 1992 he moved to New Orleans, where he has continued his prolific artistic practice. His recent work has fused a labyrinthine geometric abstraction with an expressionist sensibility to address the most salient social and political issues of the present.

Luis Cruz Azaceta’s work has been featured in over 100 major exhibitions and is included in numerous public collections internationally including The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of Art, and the Museo del Barrio, in New York City; the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela; Marco, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Mexico, and the Miami Art Museum amongst numerous venues. Cruz Azaceta has also been the recipient of numerous prestigious grants including from the Pollack-Krasner Foundation the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Cintas Foundation.

In addition to two galleries of paintings, the exhibition also features an accompanying selection of works on paper and a sculptural installation that will remain on view through November 19, 2016.

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