The Broad in Los Angeles is showing a new work from renowned Venezuelan-born artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (b. 1923), in collaboration with the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation, and it is fully viewable outside the institution. Couleur Additive has been commissioned by The Broad as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California.
Installation of the public artwork took place on four crosswalks at the intersection of West Second Street and Grand Avenue earlier this month. The work can now be experienced by the public and will be on view into 2018.
Cruz-Diez is one of the great figures of Kinetic-Optical art, which first emerged in the 1950s. Known for his groundbreaking insights into color theory and its practical application, his experimental and multi-disciplinary practice explores and investigates the visual and perceptual experiences of color. His works study the perception of color as an autonomous reality, evolving in space and time through the observer’s participation and movement.
Since 1975, Cruz-Diez has applied his research on color by producing large-scale ephemeral interventions on crosswalks and walkways around the world, bringing art from inside a museum’s traditional walls out into the community. Through his use of crosswalks and walkways, the public becomes participants in and co-authors of the artworks as they interact with and move through them at various times of day.
“A work of art in the public space is magical in that people take possession of and become fond of it,” said the artist.
“Carlos Cruz-Diez’s practice challenges the traditional relationship between art and the viewer, and between the viewer and the urban environment,” said Joanne Heyler, founding director of The Broad. “His new work Couleur Additive activates the public space around The Broad, embracing Grand Avenue and bringing the museum out into the daily life of pedestrians and our visitors, highlighting the ideas of an important Latin American artist whose career has spanned seven decades.”
As part of the installation, and in order to further deepen the project’s ties to the Grand Avenue arts community, high school students from the nearby Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts were asked to participate in painting the work onto the crosswalks throughout the Labor Day weekend.
The Broad will host select programming throughout the duration of the installation that will highlight the concepts explored by this work, including educational workshops in collaboration with the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation’s Learning Lab. In addition, a series of didactic materials inside the museum will enrich the experience of the crosswalk intervention, presenting more about the artist and his work. The project is curated by Ed Schad, Associate Curator and Publications Manager at The Broad.
Born in Caracas in 1923, Carlos Cruz-Diez is a major protagonist in the field of Kinetic and Optical art. His body of work has established him as one of the key 20th century thinkers in the realm of color. His works present color as an autonomous reality that evolves in space and time, unaided by form or support, in a perpetual present.
His work is included in permanent collections at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the WallrafRichartz Museum, Cologne.
The artist has lived and worked in Paris, France since 1960