The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this interview with Friedhelm Mennekes, Luis Cruz Azaceta (b. 1942) expresses his desire to study art from a young age. The artist notes that while he was at the School of Visual Arts in New York City (1966–69) he painted geometric abstraction, however, following a trip to Europe in 1969—where he observed work by Francisco Goya and Hieronymous Bosch—he began dealing with social and political issues in his art. Cruz Azaceta elaborates on the influence that New York has had on his work, explaining that, being there, he became aware of his mortality. The artist states there is always a type of “psychological paranoia in the city. Every time you turn a corner you experience a certain fear.” This, Cruz Azaceta elucidates, began to come out in his work and “man’s inhumanity to man” became a central subject matter at stake. He also explains the theme of death is in his work as it is directly related to his having lived through a revolution such as the Cuban one. The artist also notes that he uses self-portraits as metaphors.
This interview was conducted on the occasion of Luis Cruz Azaceta’s exhibition at the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Köln in the fall of 1988. In addition to discussing his work, Cruz Azaceta notes that he does not consider himself a “Latino” artist, but rather a New Yorker artist and an American citizen. Even so, his incorporation of the displaced individual is a frequent subject matter in his paintings and mixed media pieces also reflect his experience as an exile from Cuba in 1960.