The contemporary art gallery Lyle O. Reitzel , founded in 1995, presents in their Lower East Side space the renowned Cuban- American artist Luis Cruz Azaceta with his solo show “Swimming to Havana”. The opening will be held on november 5th at 7 pm with the artist’s presence. Azaceta has 5 years without presenting a solo show in the city of New York.
“Swimming to Havana” is a contradiction in itself when it refers to the body of work by a Cuban-American artist. Azaceta himself explains that one of his continuous subject-matter is that of los balseros that escape their social-political conditions by assuming the risk of crossing over to la Florida. In 2009 he conceived the idea of redirection the flow thus the idea of “Swimming to Havana” is born. Azaceta creates the idea of Swimming back to Havana representing the implausibility of the idea for a Cuban-American, envisioning a journey between labyrinths and waterscapes.
Timely with the newfound relationship between the USA and Cuba in moments such as these this approach by the artist transcends time and relevance acquiring his weight in history. The curator of modern and contemporary art of the New Orleans Museum speaks of this body of work:” These works explore the idea of crossing over in myriad ways: between abstraction and figuration, between geometric and organic forms, between Cuban and American culture.”.
The exhibition “Swimming to Havana” is formed with canvases and drawings created with various mediums ranging from charcoal and oil sticks to acrylic and permanent ink. The show is made of a selection of x works curated by Lyle O. Reitzel, one of them being “Bassing- Swimming to Havana” where the contradiction of Swimming to Havana becomes more obvious when he creates a basin with an image of a self-portrait swimming contained in a physical spaced trapped with nowhere to go. Being Cuban-American in his psyche it is only impossible going back after 50 plus years in exile.
With a career of over 40 years his work is part of important and numerous collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art y el Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. He has received plentiful awards the most recent being “Best in Show” as part of “Louisiana Contemporary” at the Museum of Southern Art. He has received in multiple occasions grants from the “National Endowment for the Arts”.
Luis Cruz Azaceta was born on April 5th of 1942 in Havana, Cuba. He received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1969. Since 1992 he has been living and working in New Orleans, USA.