January 15th, 2024

Luis Cruz Azaceta, Artist in Residence at the Bronze Art Foundry Foundation

By MoCA-Americas Team

The Bronze Art Foundry Foundation is among the creative programs of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Americas. In mid-January 2024, the museum's leadership team made a trip to New Orleans to meet with the renowned Cuban-American artist Luis Cruz Azaceta. At the time of reporting, the museum had already produced two of the three works planned to be created by the artist, both sponsored and produced by the Museum. A third is under production at the Foundation's workshops. This last sculpture is a three-dimensional interpretation of a canvas created by the artist in 2022, which is part of the MoCA-Americas collection.

The first two sculptures already produced and currently exhibited on the museum's upper floor are based on objects that Azaceta himself has dubbed "Selected Constructions." The museum's Board recognizes the significance and impact of this artist who represents the first generation of Cuban artists who arrived in the United States in the 1960s and has decided to grant him a residency to produce a series of bronze sculptures.

Azaceta has had a long-standing relationship with the museum back when it was still the Kendall Art Center. It was he and his family who inaugurated the Family Ties exhibition series, whose first exhibit was curated by specialist Yuneikys Villalonga in November 2021. Stemming from a joint idea by Azaceta and the late artist and cultural promoter Aldo Menéndez, Villalonga aimed to explore the creative and intimate interconnections among members of an artist's family, shaped by unique interactions, experiences, and influences throughout their lives. Azaceta and his family shared the space of the then Kendall Art Center with that of Aldo Menéndez, offering the public the opportunity to admire a collection of related works in a rather unusual manner.

Azaceta's work was also featured at the inauguration of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Americas, in November 2022, in the collective exhibition Scene Changes, curated by Jorge Rodríguez Diez (R10).

Luis Cruz Azaceta, born 1942. He left Cuba as a teenager in 1960. After immigrating to the United States, Azaceta lived in New York, graduated from The School of Visual Arts and began his long career as an artist. Since the late 1970s the paintings and drawings of Luis Cruz Azaceta have been addressing the moral and ethical pulse of this country. Early works focused on urban violence, the Aids epidemic, and racism. His current works relate to the rapid state of change in the world at large - war, terrorism, displacement, identity, and collapsing economies.

Azaceta is a devotee of visual experiment who often develops parallel series in several media at once, combining materials in totally unexpected ways, as with his extended series of photographs mounted on twisted metal stud. Azaceta works constantly and is extremely prolific. For Azaceta, art is a way of facing the world. He recognizes that change is inevitable, and that all of us are implicated by reality and time passing. The world we inhabit is contingent and changing; and chaos is an inherent part of the process. This is the reality we all share and which we all too often ignore.

He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and has been awarded grants including The Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The Joan Mitchell Foundation. His work is in the permanent collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Whitney Museum of Art in New York, The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., Museo De Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela, Marco, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo De Monterrey, Mexico among others.

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