Book Review: Carlos Cruz-Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez

DaWire is proud to present a sneak peek of the book Carlos Cruz-Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez, the first of a series of conversations published by the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC). DaWire will be receiving advance copies of the books and covering the entire series for our readers.

Carlos Cruz Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez Book Review: Carlos Cruz Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez

The CPPC, founded by avid collector of Latin American art Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, has been subsidizing projects that offer increased visibility and prominence for Latin American artists. As a part of their educational and cultural mission, they have embarked upon the continuation of a project entitled Conversaciones, a series of bilingual (Spanish / English) books that feature conversations between Latin American artists, curators, critics and art historians that underscore the importance of the artist’s voice in scholarly discourse about modern and contemporary art.

As readers and writers of art, we are often excessively immersed in theory and criticism to the point of oversaturation. We go to exhibitions, systematically read the catalogue essay, observe and have gratifying sensory experiences. But where is the artist? Can we reduce the reading of the work to the object or should we delve deeper into the creative process? Even in art history, often the artist’s voice is lost or obscured by writers, critics and curators. We are increasingly witnessing today how the role of the artist is at times overshadowed by the curator, as they seemingly take center stage above the art they intend to present. Are we undermining what the artist has to say about his own work? And how important is it to record these conversations within an art historical context?

Carlos Cruz Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez Content Book Review: Carlos Cruz Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez

The Conversations series is then, an interesting if not essential undertaking that redirects much needed attention to the artistic process and the artist’s voice. Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Director of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, envisions the project as a way to continue to advance understanding on Latin American art. According to Pérez-Barreiro, “If we agree that art is, above all, a form of communication and a vehicle  through which meaning is constructed and interpretation negotiated, then the motivations, doubts, certainties, and ambitions of the artist can only add to our understanding and appreciation of the object.”1

Carlos Cruz Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez p.81 Book Review: Carlos Cruz Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez

In the first volume of the Conversaciones series, Carlos Cruz-Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez, Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, a pioneer in color theory and perception and a main proponent of kinetic and op art, freely discusses with CPPC Chief Curator Ariel Jiménez his artistic discoveries and realizations; from his childhood in Caracas, the works that have informed his artistic practice and the concepts that led to his interest in the phenomena of color, movement and perception. The book is divided in eight sections that chronologically and thematically recount his trajectory. It is a pleasurable read, not only because of the beautiful binding, color illustrations and paper quality, but also because it’s the closest thing to a tête-à-tête conversation with Cruz-Diez; straightforward and devoid of the usual theoretical jargon that permeates scholarly writings. And as opposed to traditional journalistic interviews, Jiménez is not afraid to touch the difficult topics, questioning Cruz-Diez and establishing a platform for dialogue and discussion. A must read for Cruz-Diez fans and lovers of Latin American art.

Carlos Cruz Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez p.126 127 Book Review: Carlos Cruz Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez

Carlos Cruz-Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez hits the shelves on September 2010. This first volume will be followed by interviews with Tomás Maldonado, by María Amalia Garcia; Jac Leirner, by Adele Nelson; Alfredo Jaar, by Luis Pérez-Oramas; Cildo Meireles, by Paulo Herkenhoff; Antonieta Sosa, by Juan Ledezma; Luis Camnitzer, y Cuauhtémoc Mediana; Liliana Porter, by Inés Katzenstein; Gyula Kosice, by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro; and Waltercio Caldas, by Mr. Jiménez.

-Carla Acevedo
1 Book Introduction

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