The Light and Color Fantastic

Arts / Article

You have you put on little white booties to enter one of Carlos Cruz-Diez’s color installations at MAM. But you would put on just about anything to experience …

the four works of this pioneering Venezuelan artist that just opened at the downtown museum.

While the entire exhibit “The Embodied Experience of Color” is incredibly interactive, it is the room called Cromosaturacion that will blow you away. After donning the white shoe covers, you pad on through the entrance, to be engulfed in colored light. In the front room, a soft lavender falls over you, which melds into a rose in the next chamber, then to a green, and so on. The whole point is to move around, in and out of the different light schemes, playing with your perception and having fun with the experience.

Then move on to Ambiente cromointerferente. No booties required here. But again, the installation relies on your own movement in order to activate it. This time the multi-colored light is projected, dancing off your body and walls alike. The installation in the middle consists of booths made of tinted, transparent plastic strips that you walk into, and look out from, like putting on various colored glasses, called Duchas de inducción cromática, or Showers of Chromatic Induction. The color here falls down on you like a shower.

In 2010, light-and-color sculptures are likely nothing new to art lovers, but what’s amazing — and important — about this show is that these are some of the original, perception-based artworks involving environments that demand the interaction of the viewer, playing with senses and subjectivity. For instance, the site-specific Cromosaturación was first presented in 1968 in Germany. Cruz-Diez would become a leading figure in kinetic and optical sculpture, and is one of Venezuela’s most famous exports (he has been based in Paris since 1960). In a city like Miami, that is so new culturally speaking, exhibits that give us context and history are crucial to our growth. In other words, the Cruz-Diez show is fun and educational.

Coincidentally or not, he will be adding another addition to our cultural landscape in the near future, as one of three artists chosen to work on the new Marlins baseball stadium. He will transform the four-acre entrance plaza, one of the largest of any stadium in United States, using a paving system based on color, line and viewer perception as visual signage to the various stadium entrances. The fun — and beauty — will continue.

“Carlos Cruz-Diez: The Embodied Experience of Color,” through June 20 at the Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000.