Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923 - 2019), a key figure in kinetic and op art, was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He studied art at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas, Caracas, from 1940 to 1945, before working in illustration and advertising. He had his first solo show in Caracas in 1947.
Cruz-Diez's art explores colour and light, and includes architectural interventions, site-specific installations, paintings and prints. His research into the theory and practice of colour over his lifetime has explored our visual and perceptual experiences of colour; his works are completed by the viewer's movement and engagement of each piece. In 1965, he participated in the group show The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the exhibition drew worldwide attention to the 'Op Art' movement. Five years later in 1970 Cruz-Diez represented Venezuela at the Venice Biennale, installing several large-scale works in the pavilion including three empty rooms illuminated in red, blue and green.
Recent solo exhibitions include Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (2021); Espaço Cultural Porto Seguro, São Paulo, Brazil (2020); MAC Panamá, Panamá City, Panamá (2019); Museum fur Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt, Germany (2018); Puerta Roja, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong (2017); SCAD Museum of Art, Georgia, USA (2016); Das Kleine Museum, Weissenstadt (2015) and Fondation Vasarely, Aixen-Provence, France (2014). He had a mid-career retrospective at the Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop, Germany in 1988.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s Cruz-Diez held teaching positions in Paris and Caracas. In 2005 he founded the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation, with centres in Houston and Paris, to promote the legacy of his work and to provide opportunities for continued research and education. In 2012 he was honoured with the Officer grade, Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur, Paris, France.
His works are housed in collections worldwide including Tate, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Sofia Imber, Caracas, Venezuela; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Bogotá, Colombia; Museum of Modern Art, New York and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Museum of Modern Art, Sydney, Australia.
Carlos Cruz-Diez died aged 95 on 27 July 2019 in Paris, France.