Carlos Cruz-Diez


SCAD Museum of Art presents "Chroma," an exhibition by deFINE ART honoree Carlos Cruz-Diez, known for his groundbreaking color theory philosophies developed and refined over seven decades. Cruz-Diez’s experimental and multidisciplinary practice is featured in several public, site-specific installations and new work.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, "Chromosaturation," detail, as installed in Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2015. Photo by Maja Baska.
Carlos Cruz-Diez, "Chromosaturation," detail, as installed in Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2015. Photo by Maja Baska.

"Chroma," from the Latinized form of the Greek 'khroma' (referring to the color and quality of skin), evolved to indicate the quality or intensity of a hue by 1889. Like this word, the titular exhibition considers Cruz-Diez’s fundamental concerns regarding the transformative possibility that color is diachronic and unstable, dependent on individual perception, space and context. Cruz-Diez’s works are — aside from their aesthetic uniqueness — provocations completed by the viewers’ movement and engagement in the artist’s chromatic environments, where objects become mere vehicles for delivering a profound viewer experience. In the words of Cruz-Diez himself: “The world of color is the world of emotion.”

The artist has developed a rich terminology and language of color theory that is as important as the work itself. This language addresses not only his artistic interventions, but also defines chromatic phenomena to unlock an understanding of color as unstable, dynamic, and unique, evolving in and with a space. Terms such as "Couleur Additive," "Physichromie," "Induction Chromatique," "Chromointerférence," "Transchromie," "Chromosaturation," and "Couleur à l’espace" are used to describe the results of Cruz-Diez’s exhaustive research into four chromatic conditions: subtractive, additive, inductive and reflected color.

Inside the museum, the artist presents a concise selection of new works, specifically conceived for the SCAD Museum of Art, to provide an overview of his main conceptual concerns. Offering a range of works and the immersive environment "Environnement Chromointerférent," the exhibition also includes three new animated documentaries covering the artist's life and work, produced by the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation.

A series of outdoor interventions extend the dialogue from the inside of the museum to the outside public space, a strategy common in Cruz-Diez’s practice. Through extensive public projects previously realized in universities, stadiums, public parks and more, the artist invites viewers to integrate an experience of color in their daily routines. Additionally, these public gestures encourage the public to reformulate its relationship to the urban landscape as a space that can be inhabited both critically and joyfully. A large, altered shipping container placed in the museum courtyard holds "Chromosaturation," a series of connecting color chambers that provides the intangible experience of pure color. A series of crosswalk paintings — a Cruz-Diez trademark — is installed near the museum.

All works for "Chroma" were produced by Articruz, an atelier for artists dedicated to the production of contemporary art. Based in Panama City, Panama, and founded in 2009, Articruz offers artists the knowledge and experience gathered by Cruz-Diez and his family over nearly a century. The Cruz-Diez Art Foundation, founded in Houston, Texas, in 2005, is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving, promoting and transmitting the artistic and conceptual legacy of Carlos Cruz-Diez.

This exhibition is part of deFINE ART 2017, held Feb. 21–24 at SCAD locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, and Hong Kong. DeFINE ART is an annual program of exhibitions, lectures, performances and public events that highlights emerging and established artists and visionaries.

About the artist

French-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1923, and has lived and worked in Paris since 1960. Along with Jesús Rafael Soto and Alejandro Otero, Cruz-Diez is considered one of Venezuela’s modernist masters, and, moreover, he is a major international protagonist in the field of Kinetic and Op art, a movement that encourages “an awareness of the instability of reality.” His body of work has established him as one of the key 20th-century thinkers in the realm of color. Cruz-Diez’s research has contributed to a new way of understanding color phenomena in art, greatly expanding its perceptual universe. In his works, Cruz-Diez shows that through interaction with the viewer, color becomes an autonomous, evolving reality, devoid of anecdotes, which develops in real time and space.


The exhibition is organized by Storm Janse van Rensburg, SCAD head curator of exhibitions, and SCAD alumna Raquel Serebrenik Sultan (B.F.A., art history, 2015).

Museum Admission

The exhibition and reception are free for all museum members, and SCAD students, faculty and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

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